Twitter & Facebook helping find missing pets faster - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Twitter & Facebook helping find missing pets faster

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When Crimson found a way through her electric fence recently --- and stayed gone for days --- Andi Sims was beside herself.

"It's such a hopeless and helpless feeling. You want to do something, but you don't know what to do," she said.

What she did was distribute flyers offering a reward. She also visited nearby vet's offices. Then, she took her search to social media.

"…posted it on Facebook. I posted it on Craig's List. I put that we had lost our dog on Twitter," Andi said.

A friend who saw her post about the missing dog saw another post about one that was found and connected the dots --- or the dog, so to speak.

This is just one of many ways pets are being reunited with owners after going missing, an increasingly common trend, according to the American Kennel Club.

"In 2010 we tracked 255 pet thefts," said AKC's Lisa Peterson. "Compare that to last year, 2011, we tracked 432 pet thefts. So there was an increase of nearly 70-percent."

And those are just the cases they tracked through media and online reports. According to PetFinder.com, more than two million pets disappeared last year. Less than 10-percent made their way back home.

Pet expert Charlotte Reed claims companies are hoping to change that by bringing high-tech options to animal owners.

Consider the Tagg GPS system, for example.

"It's attached to your pet's collar and it will you track your pet in real time," said Charlotte Reed, a pet lifestyle expert. 

You'll get a text or email when your dog or cat leaves the zone you've set-up. And you'll see exactly where your pet is, as long as the collar is still on.

There's also a collar that uses QR codes to tell others about your animal. You just register your pet online, then order an ID tag, which can be read with a regular QR code app.

"So, if someone has the phone app they can scan the tag and find out all about your pet. Also, there's Amber Alerts for pets where you can actually upload your data, pay a fee and they'll do all of the legwork for you," Reed said.

With animal theft becoming an issue around the country, the American Kennel Club still prefers micro-chipping, which is embedded under the animal's skin.

"Notify the police" if your dog is taken, Peterson advises. "Tell them the dog has a microchip if it does, clearly, you know, get the word out. Put flyers up around the neighborhood."

Websites dedicated to missing pets also help.

No matter what, don't give-up hope.

"In the last year or so we've seen pets who have returned home after 8 years, 12 years," said Reed.

Meanwhile, Andi has an appointment to get a microchip for Crimson.

"It was one experience that we never want to repeat," she said.

It's important to note the Tagg system has an ongoing monthly fee to keep the GPS system active.

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For more information, consider visiting these websites:

Tagg, the Pet Tracker from Snaptracs, Inc: www.pettracker.com

Collar with QR code: http://getpetshome.com/

Another option is:

http://www.dogids.com/dog-collar-with-qr-code.html

Amber Alert for Pets: www.petamberalert.com/ or http://www.amberalertforpets.com/

Missing pet website: www.missingpet.net/

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