New program designed to find lost pets

2010-08-25T09:15:00Z 2010-08-25T09:24:21Z New program designed to find lost petsBy Julie Blum Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS — If Jan Berry has her way, no one will have to go through what she did when she lost her pet toy poodle Velcro.

Two years ago, the 5-pound show dog went missing. Despite an exhaustive search and an effort to spread the word about the dog through flyers, the local newspaper and the radio, the ending wasn’t a happy one. Velcro was later found dead miles from home.

In hopes of helping pet owners reunite with their dogs and cats, Berry, manager at the Erna R. Badstieber Paws & Claws Adoption Center, has started “Velcro Alert.”

Named after her beloved pooch, the Velcro Alert will send out e-mail messages and photos to people in the community of missing pets and animals brought into the adoption center. The hopes are that someone who sees the message will have information or have seen the animal and that will help reunite the dog or cat with its owner.

The Velcro Alert has been used for just a couple of weeks. Berry is in the process of collecting e-mail addresses and is asking the community to get in touch with her so they can be added to the e-mail list.

They can e-mail the adoption center at pawsnclaws@ or call 562-5683. People who are missing their pets also can contact the center.

“I really encourage anyone who has lost an animal to bring me a picture or e-mail it and information about where (the animal) was last seen,” Berry said.

The adoption center keeps a running list of lost and found pets. Any time a dog or cat is brought in, they are scanned for microchip identification if they don’t have visible tags. They also are compared to the list of animals that have been reported missing or have been taken in by the center.

Sometimes animals can be reunited with owners through that process alone. Reuniting a pet with its owner has been somewhat successful for dogs since the adoption center opened two years ago. The return rate is 45 percent. Cats are much less.

Using the Velcro Alert might help increase those rates, and save a lot of heartache, by getting the word out whenever a pet goes missing.

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