A lost pet is one of the most gut-wrenching things an animal owner can experience. Slipping off the leash, escaping from the backyard or even being stolen — if any of those things happened, we would do anything to get our companions back or find the owners of lost pets. I’ve seen the flyers on the light posts and in store windows, papers hung up at the animal shelter and a list at the vet’s office, but how does an alert system work for dogs?
There is more than one company currently offering alerts for lost (and found) pets. Not all are alike, and each offers different services. Let’s take a look at three different providers.
Dog Amber Alert
Services: This service uses a web-based interface to scroll tickers on some websites and display a list of pet alerts to members based on their zip code. Those members in the area of the missing pet will also be notified if they have registered for the service. Those wishing to post a missing pet are diverted to another website to get started.
Amber Alert for Pets
Cost: Variable Annual Fee
- $24.95 for 1 year
- $34.90 for 2 years
- $44.85 for 3 years
Services: This member-based system is made up of people across the country who agree to receive alerts of missing animals near them, search the surrounding neighborhood for the animal and place a minimum number of flyers at local areas or businesses. The website provides the flyers for anyone to print and lists the missing dogs on its website.
Pet Amber Alert
Cost: Variable Service Fee
- $49.95 for Poster Alert
- $69.95 for Phone Alert
- $119.95 for Poster and Phone Alerts
Services: Based on packages listed above. The poster alert package faxes your alert directly to local veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups, animal hospitals and pet stores. The phone alert package places hundreds of calls to residents in the area your pet went missing. These calls feature a custom recorded message about you, your pet, where the pet went missing and was last seen, and provides advice on what to do.
The phone service stands out because it covers neighbors with unlisted numbers or those with only mobile phones. The calls are attempted four times in an hour before a message is left. These services also work no matter where you lost your pet; if you’re not at home and lose your pet, these services contact people and businesses in the area the dog was lost. Contact numbers are updated by the company at a rate of 5 million+ per year, although some of your neighbors might be surprised if they receive a call.
As you can see, there are a few choices beyond the do-it-yourself method. Luckily I haven’t had to use any of these services yet, but we’re curious to hear if any of you have, or if you have at least considered registering for them.
- Amber Alert for Pets
- Pet Amber Alert
And since we all love happy endings, here’s one lucky pet owner who got her dog back and much more.
Photos: Piddleville (top), dbrulz123/Flickr