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Microchip in Saint Bernard may help solve Hingham mystery

Posted by Your Town  June 18, 2009 12:21 PM

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By Matt Collette and Michele Richinick, Globe Correspondent

HINGHAM -- A microchip imbedded in a Saint Bernard may help Hingham police solve the mystery of a man who went for a walk in the woods on Wednesday with the dog and disappeared.

A Nebraska company manufactured the microchip, which is used by people to find lost dogs. Investigators hope that the company has information about who bought the microchip.

"We are trying to contact the people in Nebraska to see if they can help us out," said Lieutenant Michael Peraino, a Hingham police spokesperson.

The Saint Bernard was found wet and wandering alone near Accord Pond, raising fears that something may have happened to the dog's owner, a man in his mid-50s with gray hair. Police scoured the area with their own dogs while Accord Pond was searched by dive teams and a boat using an underwater camera.

Police do not know the man's name, and no one matching his description has been reported missing. Employees at a Chili's Grill & Bar often saw the man walk the Saint Bernard in the woods. They became alarmed on Wednesday when the dog returned without his owner.

"It's weird, I saw the Saint Bernard," said Steven Morgan, manager at Chili's. "Aren't they supposed to be able to find people? I don't know, maybe that's only in the cartoons."

While investigators wait to hear from the manufacturer of the microchip, police today searched the woods again near the pond.

"We don't even know if there is a missing person yet," said Lieutenant James F. Taylor, who confirmed a search was under way, but would not give additional details.


Globe Correspondent L.E. Crowley contributed to this report.

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25 comments so far...
  1. Maybe there's missing info here, but dog owners do NOT buy microchips from manufacturers, veterniarians do. maybe Jason Bourne could come out of retirement to help them out. However, why is there no word on a dog collar, which would ID the owner, nor any abandoned vehicles in the area? If no vehicles, then either the guy is very local and walked to the pond, or intentionally abandoned Fido (maybe he couldn't afford to feed the behemoth any more?) and drove away (removing any collar beforehand to avoid being found?)..

    Posted by mike s June 18, 09 12:38 PM
  1. True, the vet would have purchased the chip, but chances are they'd have record of the dog's owner, or owner at the time the chip was implanted.

    Posted by Mrs B June 18, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Abandonment seems doubtful. I saw the dog on TV last night and it didn't appear to have missed many meals recently. In my experience, pet owners who implant the microchips usually treat their animals more like children more than property.

    Seems like the cops should be checking all the local vets too as not all chips are properly registered by the pet owners following implantation. If the guy was local and walked his dog there frequently, chances are pretty good he would also use a local vet.

    Posted by TwoNs June 18, 09 01:01 PM
  1. Veterinarians purchase and inject the microchips, but owners register them. By providing a name and contact information to the microchip company, an owner ensures that if his/her pet is found, it can be returned.

    Posted by BK June 18, 09 01:04 PM
  1. By looking up the microchipped information from the manufacturer's registry, they will find --- wait for it -- the owner's contact information! You must be some special kind of genius, Mike.

    Posted by Flynne June 18, 09 01:06 PM
  1. Professor Plum, with a rope, in the library.

    Posted by Joe Doaks June 18, 09 01:11 PM
  1. This story doesn't make a lot of sense. Restaurant workers saw the man walking his dog and a while later they saw the dog and not the owner. No one has been reported missing, maybe the dog just wandered off. Was an abandoned car found nearby? Why push the panic button? Accord Pond is a strange location sandwiched between highway (rte 3) exits with lots of commercial property nearby. Not really a destination to drive to for dog walking. If there is no car nearby, he must be a neigbor from Norwell or Rockland. St Bernards are hard to miss-some neighbor must know who he is.

    Posted by Doggone June 18, 09 01:23 PM
  1. I saw the dog on TV and he's a sweetie. I doubt the guy left the dog there. I think they will find him with more searching. So sad...

    Posted by Brighton_Corgi June 18, 09 01:29 PM
  1. "Why push the panic button?" Who's pushing the panic button, Doggone? They're just doing what people should do in a civilized society -- worry about the welfare of their neighbors. Isn't that what civilization is all about, really? If you read the whole story, it said the restaurant workers OFTEN saw the man walking his dog. It's not a one-time thing.

    Posted by Concerned June 18, 09 02:00 PM
  1. It is true that this story is not much of a story if the only issue is a wandering dog. And that suggests--just like every story ever published--there is more to the story. I haven't a clue as to what "more" involves in this particular story, but I do know that local police departments are just as budget conscious as every other gov't agency these days and an investigation of this kind is not free. Perhaps the details within this blog are the anticipated consequences of the story being published in the first place, and someone with inside information will feel the need to be heard.

    Posted by HinghamLocal June 18, 09 02:03 PM
  1. I believe the police will have trouble due to Vet/Pet confidentiality.

    Posted by john June 18, 09 02:10 PM
  1. The dog is hardly to blame. I hope they find the man soon -- the strange thing is that St Bernards will protect their owner if they come to harm. It is weird that the dog did not lead them back to the owner. Heartfelt prayers with the family.

    Posted by DR June 18, 09 02:30 PM
  1. When you microchip your dog, they give you a little tag to attach to the collar. This has the microchip number and an 800 phone number on it. You register the dog and give your info to the monitoring company so they can contact you. That way if someone finds the dog, they don't have to take it to a vet to get it scanned. They can just call the 800 number and contact you. If the tag/collar is missing, then a vet or shelter has to scan the dog to get the number.

    Posted by Michele June 18, 09 02:35 PM
  1. DR,
    On the news report last night on Fox, they said the dog was wet when found. They brought the dog with them on the search and when they got to the pond he just laid down and stared at the water. Not a good sign...

    Posted by XXX June 18, 09 03:41 PM
  1. How would someone know if a dog has a chip implanted in them?

    Posted by katie June 18, 09 03:49 PM
  1. Katie, the chip has an RFID which can be picked up by a special scanner. So someone scanned the dog.

    That pond can be dangerous, I know someone who drowned there years ago.

    Posted by hollyp June 18, 09 04:06 PM
  1. There are scanners you can use to detect the chip.

    Posted by Patsy June 18, 09 04:11 PM
  1. Amazing.

    17 comments so far and no one has accused the Globe of liberal bias.

    Posted by Boo33 June 18, 09 04:42 PM
  1. Funny how so much money and time is invested in such an investigation where no one is even reported missing. Yet in a poorer part of Mass far more dire investigations are barely touched. Policing in Mass is very unbalanced. Some towns have many bored obnoxious cops driving around doing nothing invading everyone's privacy, other towns have hardly any, yet need them the most.

    Posted by wherearethecops? June 18, 09 06:34 PM
  1. "17 comments so far and no one has accused the Globe of liberal bias," or the Obama Administration. . . :-)

    Posted by luciennepierre June 18, 09 10:26 PM
  1. wherearethecops: your local town police can call up the staties any time and ask for help. Why would the Hingham cops investigate anything outside of Hingham? Duh... I'm guessing this guy wasn't reported missing yet 'cause he lives alone, and didn't teach the dog how to dial 911. I hope he's found safe.

    Posted by Redheaded Wonder June 18, 09 11:13 PM
  1. @XXX, that looks to be a bad sign. Hope he was wet only because of the rain and not from having been in the water truing to rescue the owner. Guess there has been no further reportage of the issue. Hope they find the man (in good health, i.e.). Prayers with the family.

    @wherearethecops: Who said no one is missing? Didn't everyone else say the owner of the dog is missing? Would you much rather wait three months before a relative turns up looking for the owner and then reports him as missing? C'mon buddy, the whole point of being a society is to watch out for each other. Your money is not being wasted, especially if they're looking for someone.


    Posted by DR June 19, 09 12:25 AM
  1. Sad story... Saint Bernards are used as search & rescue dogs they find people buried under deep snow, the dogs that carry the brandy in the canteen. That being said it is not a good sign that the dog led them to water and laid down and whimpered and would not leave. Changes are the dog knows his owner is in the water. The man is older and probably lives alone and that's why no one reported him missing. This dog is probably all he had. I doubt abandonment as this dog looked well cared for. I also doubt there would be an abandoned car as this man is seen walking his dog every morning. Maybe the man is homeless and that's why there are no tags? Someone did scan the dog for a chip but it was not registered but they can track it to find out which veterinary office implanted the chip. A Saint Bernard is not a common breed someone somewhere has to know this man and his dog. Poor dog ...I hope they find his owner soon.

    Posted by Jen June 19, 09 03:57 PM
  1. I have been working with dogs for the better part of thirty years. That dog knows what happened to his master. I believe the Hingham Police need to spend ALL of their efforts looking in the pond. Not only do I believe the dog, but Accord pond is the source for drinking water in Hingham. It wont do anybody any good to leave a body in it. Trust the dog.

    Posted by Dogman June 20, 09 05:21 PM
  1. I am and Owner of a Show Saint Bernard, They are very loyal to there owners,and will Be there in any condition, and problem. The Saint Bernard is trying to Tell something happen to it owner. Trust the Saint. I have lived through kidney problems MY Saint Bernard was right there. The Hingham Police should check with Saint Bernard of America (AKC) , American Kennel Club they have a listing of all Saints (Show quality or Pet quality.) The Telephone is 919-232-9767 Also All Saint Bernard Breeders have a help list out there, to help when Saint Bernard get Taken. There needs to be a better picture Front and Side to show all marking ,so any Breeder out there will be able to help. Also all Saint Bernards have a Certified Pedigree Paper of when they were whelped. There is also a Vet. out there that
    knows this Saint Bernard, as they need there Special

    Posted by Diana Braden June 22, 09 06:53 PM