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High tech (and high cost) lost pet alerts

The same telephone technology that makes it possible for us to be annoyed by political campaign robocalls is now being used to annoy us about lost pets.

Which, in my book, is a far more worthy reason to annoy someone.

An article in yesterday’s Washington Post looked at the latest technology people are using to find lost pets, including websites like Findtoto.com, Findfido.com and Pets911.com.

The Post article recounted the case of Lucy, a missing Australian shepherd-husky mix, who disappeared from her Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

Through Find Toto, the owners were able to, within hours of her disappearance, make contact with 10,000 households in the District and Montgomery County, describing Lucy and letting them know whom to call if she was found.

Find Toto offers several packages, starting with one that calls 500 neighbors with a recorded message for $125, all the way up $875 for calling 10,000 neighbors.

The article quotes Scott Giacoppo, chief programs officer for the Washington Humane Society, as saying a small industry has evolved around finding lost pets — not all members of which are trustworthy. He urged seekers of lost pets not give up the old-fashioned methods, like checking with shelters, handing out fliers and posting neighborhood signs, and to remember first and foremost that registering one’s dog, making sure the dog is wearing its ID tags, and microchipping are the best ways to ensure your lost pet gets returned.

Find Toto says it has found more than 900 dogs, cats and other pets since it was established in 2007 — with a success rate of more than 70 percent.

Lucy, meanwhile, was recovered, but not through the service. A month after she disappeared, she was reported to have been seen by animal control officers on Massachusetts Avenue NW, who reviewed photographs of dogs reported missing back and alerted Lucy’s owners to the sighting. They searched the area and found her.

(Photo from Findtoto.com)


Comment from LuluAndLolly
Time March 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Wow! We are 2 Maltese dogs and we must say great post! We posted the link to these resources as well! LoLLy is a rescue and we try to do our part 2, so we posted a link to this informashon. We have really enjoyed reading this site and subscribed and are really enjoying seeing the great stuff every day — and posting it ourselves to help spread the werd! Love, your PaLs, LuLu and LoLLy! http://www.luluandlolly.com

Comment from secureconnect
Time March 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm

One of the people in our office forwarded this post and after reading it, I thought I might add this comment that will hopefully be of interest to readers of this post. While the findfido service can be valuable in searching for a lost pet, the only reason for having to utilize a “recovery service’ like this, is probably because that pet had no ID tag with up to date contact info.

Getting a lost pet back is not really about finding the pet…it’s about finding (reaching) it’s owner. 7 million pets enter shelters each year. Those pets were “found” but because their owners were NOT, less than 10% are ever returned…..that’s what pet ID is all about.

And when it comes to pet ID, the American Humane Association calls an ID tag the “first line of defense” because it’s a simple and quick way to reach the owner. That certainly makes sense, however the caveat is that the tag (or any ID solution for that matter) is only as good as it’s ability to reach the owner. In other words an ID tag has to contain updated contact information where the owner can be reached.

My name is Barry Stiefel and the reason I’m familier with this area is that I’m the President of a company that began working with American Humane several years ago to develop a better ID tag that would take into account the way today’s pet owner lives.

American Humane had approached by us about adapting our patented communication system (originally developed as a child safety solution for schools) for use as a new kind of pet ID tag that would address the pet owners of today are more mobile and on the go and no longer tied down or reachable at just one number.

The product that resulted is called the petFINDER ID tag. If someone finds a lost pet wearing a petFINDER tag, they dial a toll-free number on the tag and are then automatically connected directly 3 contact numbers the owner previously entered during a simple set up…..if the first number doesn’t connect, without hanging up the system rolls over and will connect to the second or third numbers.

The connection is automatic and the caller never knows the identity of the owner’s numbers, thus protecting their privacy. The owner can even record an informational message which the caller hears right before connecting to the numbers (pets name, reward offer, health info, etc).

Perhaps the best feature however is the ability an owner has to make unlimited changes to their numbers for life. When numbers change one simple toll-free call to the system set up number is all that’s needed to make a change. Owners can even make temporary changes when traveling (enter numbers for where owner is staying…and then change back when home).

Most importantly is that the changes are made instantly and in real time so that an owner can change a number….even after their pet goes missing, if they realize that the numbers entered are not up to date or don’t reflect where they presently can be reached (thereby addressing the need for pet recovery services).

In other words, given the owners ability to update their contact info at any time, with the use of a petFINDER ID tag there would be very little use for pet recovery services (unless it were to come off the pets collar) .

Anyway, if anyone is interested the petFINDER ID tag costs less than $20 and includes unlimited toll-free system service, for the life of the pet; no other costs of any kind (www.petfindertag.com or http://www.finderproducts.com), . Thanks so much for the opportunity to disseminate this information.
Barry Stiefel

Comment from Priya
Time October 4, 2009 at 10:14 am

I have used the finder technology above and it though it is a good solution their customer service has been unresponsive.

Comment from Mark
Time April 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Check out http://www.PetAmberAlert.com They have lower prices and better service!