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Chicago Woman Files Lawsuit After Daughter’s Ex-Boyfriend Stole Cat, Convinced Animal Hospital To Remove Microchip

CHICAGO (CBS) — This is the story of the case of Tigger the cat.

As CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported, Tigger’s Chicago owner said someone stole him, took him to a vet, and paid big bucks to have his microchip removed.

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Tigger is now back with his human mom, Debbie Richardson. But she has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to make a point about microchips.

“I want accountability – reasonable accountability,” she said.

Richardson’s lawsuit said her daughter’s ex-boyfriend stole Tigger a few years ago.

While the family searched for him, they said the ex-boyfriend somehow convinced the Portage Park Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic to remove Tigger’s microchip.

“He wanted to keep Tigger,” Richardson said.

The suit says that chip was registered to Richardson.

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“It’s not about money – it’s about them being responsible,” Richardson said. “I mean, they are the ones that we are depending on to take care of our fur babies, and the fact that they would just do this is disturbing.”

We found similar stories online of pet owners or their exes navigating murky legal waters regarding microchips — the implanted devices that help owners track down lost pets.

“This is something that should concern people across the board,” Richardson said.

We wanted to ask the animal hospital why they’d remove the microchip, but a manager told us they can’t comment because of the lawsuit.

“If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t,” Richardson said, “and they need to be professional on the way they pursue things.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers best practices and policies for animal hospitals, so we asked them what their stance is on removing microchips. It turns out they do not have any guidance on that.

We also asked a respected suburban veterinarian, who told us there are rare cases – like when a tumor grows near a chip – that removal might be medically necessary. But that is not the case here, and chips almost always should remain implanted for the life of an animal.

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Richardson said she wound up getting Tigger back from her daughter’s ex-boyfriend through an earlier lawsuit.

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