When Helping Lost Pets (HeLP) launched their ground breaking national lost and found registry three years ago, the burgeoning company aimed to simplify the search for missing pets. And now HeLP looks to expand to the Pacific Northwest.
Rob Goddard, founder of HelpingLostPets.com (HeLP), wondered how many families didn’t find their missing pets because they weren’t extending their search far enough. Perhaps their missing pet was at a shelter one or two counties over – but how would they ever know?
“We do know that many pets get home after extensive physical and online searches,” stated Rob Goddard. “Many families find their pet weeks later if they are persistent and can afford to take a few weeks away from work. But what if you could search one database where every found pet was listed?”
Goddard’s home base is Toronto, Canada and while HeLP has grown in the east coast, he’s trying to expand to the west coast – including Seattle.
HelpingLostPets.com is a free map-based resource for people whose pets have gone missing. This service is available 24/7 and enables regional or worldwide searching and eliminates municipal borders. Users can register lost and found pets – with just a few clicks, alerts about the missing animal are tweeted and posted to Facebook. Shelters and animal control agencies can also upload found pets, enabling the public to view them online.
“HeLP makes it easier to match lost and found pets in a certain area,” stated Goddard. “You can search in your neighborhood, county or right across the country.”
But HeLP offers more than a map-based search – it also provides email and text alerts when a pet matching your pet’s description arrives at a shelter. Many shelters will only hold found pets for 72 hours and the site enables users to search both adoptable and found pets, track sightings, connect with their search party, and print posters.
HeLP also has a mobile app for Android phones. When traveling with your pets nationwide, you can trigger a lost pet alert from your phone and email and text alerts will instantly be sent to HeLP members in that area. HeLP will maintain contact with pet owners, emailing them to confirm if their pet is still lost and making it easy for them to confirm.
HeLP members include shelters, veterinarians, animal rescues, animal related businesses and organizations, and lost and found volunteer groups. The fledgling organization is already linked to 60 lost/found pet organizations nationwide that are also using their website. And shelters that use their website benefit from reducing administrative costs and increasing reclaim rates.
The ASPCA estimates that 1-2 million “stray” animals in shelters are euthanized in annually – but how many of these are missing pets whose family members are searching for them? Approximately 5-7 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide annually – and sadly, 3-4 million (60% of dogs and 70% of cats) are euthanized. A national lost and found pet registry can help more of these animals return home. HeLP has the technology to help people find their missing pets – they just need people to join and spread the word about this organization.
“If we all help each other, then more lost pets will get back home. Every lost pet who gets home means one less pet in the local shelter, making everyone happy. From the pet’s family, the shelter administrators, and let’s not forget the pets, too!”
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