New York, NY – Thursday, June 28, 2012 – The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®, ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) have joined forces to create a new lost-and-found program to ensure that lost dogs and cats are returned to their owners. This innovative program harnesses the power of trained volunteers and technology to track down lost pets and speed their return to anxious owners.
The new pilot program will launch July 2, just in time to be in place for the Fourth of July — a holiday traditionally marked by a spike in lost pets, thanks in part to the number of frightened pets who go rogue during fireworks displays.
If your pet is lost or if you find a pet, you can report it on AC&C’s website at www.nycacc.org. Then the process begins with volunteers providing searches and more in-depth efforts to locate owners. Trained volunteers, supervised by a staff person paid for by the ASPCA, monitor lost pet reports daily and attempt to match them to animals entering the shelters and on the database. They also proactively compare the animals at AC&C facilities and those listed on external lost-and-found websites. This does not take the place of pet owners visiting the AC&C care centers themselves, but it does make huge strides in assisting with the lost-and-found process.
“Volunteers search the sites multiple times each day and follow up on every possible lead,” says Melissa Donaldson, Coordinator of Veterinary Care and APO Oversight for the Mayor’s Alliance, which spearheaded the program after City budget cuts suspended the former lost-and-found program. “If we need more information from a pet owner, we call them. We’re doing everything we can to make sure as many lost pets as possible are returned to their families.”“There are a number of preventative steps — some required by NYC law — that pet owners can take to guard against losing their pets and, if their pet should become lost, increase their chances of getting them back,” says Julie Morris, Senior Vice President of Community Outreach at the ASPCA. “Among them are keeping dogs on-leash except in dog parks or designated off-leash areas, always keeping cats indoors, and making sure window screens are secure to prevent pets from escaping or falling. Microchipping is also a must, as is purchasing a license for your dog, as required by NYC law.” Morris also encourages pet owners to attach a basic ID tag to their pet’s collar. “Sometimes it’s the quickest way to locate a pet’s owner. You can purchase an inexpensive tag at any local pet store, and it’s best if you can include on it two contact phone numbers.”
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, pet owners are encouraged to be especially vigilant with their pets to avoid becoming separated from them. “Don’t even think about taking your dog to see the fireworks,” cautions Julie Bank, Executive Director of AC&C. “Most dogs and cats are frightened by fireworks, so make sure they’re safe and secure at home. Remember, if your pet does get lost, please use the online search and visit the care centers regularly to look for your lost pet.”
To become a lost-and-found volunteer, visit www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org/volunteer, and submit an application with “Lost & Found Program” checked under “Volunteer Interests.”
About the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., is a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters working with Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at AC&C shelters. To achieve that goal, the Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, helps its Alliance Participating Organizations work to their highest potential to increase pet adoptions and spay/neuter rates, with the goal of transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org
Abby Ross, LAK Public Relations, Inc.
Office: (212) 329-1404