Yesterday, Parker and I were walking to his afternoon play group meeting when we encountered a beagle-basset-looking dog wandering the streets. I tethered Parker and followed the other dog until she tired of the "keep away" game we had been playing. She had county rabies tags, and a current city license tag, but no other identification.
She most likely lived nearby. She was sweet and friendly, got along with Parker just fine, and waited with us patiently for Animal Control to arrive. But then she had to go to the animal shelter, probably for the night, and her owners probably went crazy looking for her until they (one hopes) got a call from the shelter this morning. The county has no record of what dogs go with what tags; they can do nothing more than confirm the tags are authentic. The city does keep identity records, but the police do not have access to them. Only the animal shelter does, but I'm not sure how, and if they need to talk to someone at City Hall then they're going to be S.O.L. at 5:30 on a Saturday afternoon.
Look, if you own dogs, put ID tags on them. Had this little dog had a phone number on her collar, she would have gotten home probably within ten minutes. It's great that the owners had her rabies shots and city tags up to date, but come on, spend $5 at Petco or Petsmart and get a name tag made. Even microchipping isn't enough, because the shelter may not use the same system that your dog's chip uses.
Think, people: your dog does not know your phone number, and couldn't tell someone even if she knew it.