Having a pet go missing can be one of the most devastating, heart-wrenching events pet owners can experience.
Although preparation can help prevent this from happening, knowing where to start your search if a pet does go missing can help reunite pets and their owners more quickly.
For this reason, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is adopting new technology from Petco Love to help find missing cats and dogs and reunite them with their families.
National nonprofit Petco Love Lost, formerly known as the Petco Foundation, is a free searchable national database at lost.petcolove.org that uses facial recognition technology to find lost critters at 880 shelters throughout the nation, including HSPPR. According to Gretchen Pressley, HSPPR community relations manager, uploaded photos of a missing pet are scanned to determine whether the lost pet is at a shelter or with a neighbor who has reported it.
“This simple-to-use tool will be easily accessible to participating animal organizations nationwide, as well as any pet parent or person who finds a lost pet,” Pressley said in a press release.
Duane Adams, HSPPR president/CEO, said the shelter understands the heartache involved with a missing pet. “There’s nothing more rewarding than reuniting families with their beloved pets, and with Petco Love Lost, we’re confident it can lead to many more happy reunions here in the Pikes Peak Region,” Adams said.
One in three pets vanish in their lifetime — a total of about 10 million pets annually, said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut. She added that Petco Love finds that number unacceptable.
“That gives us 10 million reasons why we created Petco Love Lost, because we believe nothing is more important than keeping people and pets together for a lifetime of love. Together with HSPPR, our goal is to keep pets where they belong — at home, with you,” Kogut said.
Here are some ideas on how to begin a search for a lost furry friend:
Submit a lost report to HSPPR: Fill out the online form at hsppr.org/lost-your-pet.
Use Petco Love Lost: This searchable national database uses patented facial recognition technology to find lost pets more quickly and easily. Upload an image of your pet to the Petco Love Lost database and it will scan the system for your pet.
Share photos: Show a recent photo of your pet to neighbors, mail carriers, meter readers and gardeners. Use this photo to create signs to hang in your neighborhood and post on social media or neighborhood apps to notify your local area of your missing pet.
Create signs: Use big dark letters on a light background. Keep the information short and easy to read while driving. An example is, “Lost Pet: Big Brown Dog 555-1212. Use a photo, if possible. Post them on major cross-streets, and at schools, veterinary clinics, pet stores, and boarding, grooming and training kennels, and talk to the staff.
Begin a foot-search: A two-mile radius of the owners’ home is a good area. Pay particular attention to sheds, abandoned buildings and any other possible hiding spaces. Recruit friends and neighbors to cover a larger area more quickly. Bring the pet’s favorite treats to help lure them out of anywhere they may be hiding.
Ads and rewards: Think about placing ads in local newspapers or on radio or TV stations. Many of these have a free “lost and found” section. Offer an incentive for the pet’s safe return.
Check in: Go every day to local organizations such as animal shelters, veterinarians and pet emergency clinics.
Log onto petfinder.com: Place a free Lost Pet classified ad on the site and check ads placed by people who have found pets.
File a notice with the microchip company: If the pet has been microchipped, log in to the account and post an update in case a vet or shelter finds the pet.
Good preventative measures include making sure a pet’s tags are updated with the owner’s current contact information and getting pets microchipped.
If your pet does get lost, it’s important to start your search immediately, says HSPPR. “Time is critical.”