RF CSO Sean Bus and Wilson | Provided

The River Forest Police Department’s community service officer wasted little time in putting a new animal microchip scanner to good use this month, employing it to help reunite a lost dog named Wilson with its owner the day after the department received it.

CSO Sean Bus said he picked up the department’s microchip scanner at an all-day training session on March 8 at the Bridgeview Courthouse, sponsored by the Cook County Animal Control Department in conjunction with the Chicagoland Humane Coalition and the Best Friends Animal Society.

In addition to the “very informative” training, Bus said each police department represented received a 24PetWatch microchip reader.

The afternoon of next day, March 9, Bus said he received a call from one of the department’s sergeants explaining that a resident had brought a stray dog to him while he was on patrol in the vicinity of Washington Boulevard and Ashland Avenue. The small dog that Bus identified as a pug was seen wandering in the 7600 block of Washington Boulevard.

Bus said he put the pug, later identified as Wilson, on a leash and put it in his police vehicle, where he scanned it to obtain its identification number.  An internet search provided the name of Wilson’s owner, whom Bus contacted and made arrangements to return the pug to its home.

He said the owner was very pleased and speculated Wilson escaped from the yard when a family member left the gate open. Bus said he only had the dog for 15 or 20 minutes.

Bus has been with the River Forest police for a year and a half after serving in a similar position with the Park Ridge Police Department. 

In addition to serving as animal control officer, his community service duties include assisting with parking enforcement and traffic control. Most of his animal control calls involve stray dogs although he has also dealt with stray cats.  

“I really like what I do here,” he said.

Bus said operating the microchip scanner is pretty quick and easy. He said he’s never owned a dog but “all my friends have dogs.” 

Prior to receiving the microchip scanner, Bus would drive stray dogs to the Animal Care League in Oak Park and staff members there would use their scanner to obtain the animals’ identification numbers.

Bus said he learned about the Cook County training from staff members at the Animal Care League.

He said many of the stray dogs he encounters are wearing collars with tags that simplify the process but calls having the microchip scanner “definitely a good thing for the department and the community.”

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