Having a beloved dog or cat go missing is a horrendous experience. Those who go through it find their lives completely taken over by a myriad of heart-wrenching questions. Where is he? Is he alive and safe? Will I ever see him again? How can I get him back?
Thanks to Hollywood actress, children’s book writer and animal activist Madeleine Fisher-Kern, missing animals in Los Angeles have a better chance than average of being reunited with their families. Her brainchild, Metro Pet Tracker (www.metropettracker.com) is an online lost-and-found service that not only helps reunite missing dogs and cats with their rightful guardians, but also educates people on how to protect their animals from getting lost or stolen.
Here’s how it works. Those who have lost animals in the L.A. area can visit the site and submit a free descriptive listing and photograph of their companion. Unlike a classified ad in a newspaper, there is no word limit, so you can include as much information as you see fit, thereby increasing your animal’s chances of being located. “The ability to add photos is also a bonus,” says Madeleine.
Listings remain posted on the site for 199 days. People have the added option of doing an online search of animal shelters in and around their area so they can check these facilities in case their companion was turned in there.
The website works both ways: people who find a lost animal can also post a brief description and photo on the website in the hopes his guardian will see it and be able to reunite with her companion. Before doing so, however, you’re advised to read the Caution Statement; this important webpage provides vital suggestions on how to avoid those who would fraudulently pose as the animal’s guardian and then sell him for experimentation, dog fighting, or other unsavory purposes.
Along with its lost and found services, Metro Pet Tracker offers lots of informative articles on animal security, health and other topics written by vets, lawyers and activists, as well as links to rescues and adoption organizations, and sites that focus on political issues and animal care.
Like many web-based initiatives, Metro Pet Tracker has had its growing pains, including hacker attacks and viruses, but these issues, as frustrating as they were, never diminished Madeleine’s enthusiasm. The site is now running smoothly and has reunited many lost dogs and cats with their desperate guardians. “The City and County of Los Angeles is a vast area,” says Madeleine. “Metro Pet Tracker makes it smaller by using the most immediate means of communication available today – the internet.”