PetLynx™ Develops Online Retriever for Lost and Found Animals
It's not quite the same as putting faces on milk cartons, but a new national database is helping lost pets find their way home.
A Calgary company has developed Canada's first national, interactive pet network designed to reunite the one million dogs,
cats, and other creatures that go missing each year, with their owners.
"It's like a giant lost and found for animals," said Jerry Aschenbrenner, former board chairman of PetLynx™.
"You relieve the anguish a pet owner faces when their family pet goes missing and you really do the same for your lost pets," said Aschenbrenner, a former long time animal services manager for the City of Calgary.
Of the one million lost pets across Canada last year, fewer than 25 percent were returned to their
owners and nearly half of the remainder of found pets were euthanized, according to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
"We are going to save lives with this pet network," said Joy Ripley, past president of the Alberta SPCA,
adding the concept of a central database for lost and found animals is long overdue.
The Network for Pets
PetLynx™, modeled after a lost and found animal registry system used by the City of Calgary for nearly
two decades, allows owners to register information about their pets on a database. Information stored on the pet network can include microchip data, breed, colour, tattoos, medical history and personality traits.
The Calgary lost and found pet network program returned more than 80 percent of lost pets to their owners each year,
Aschenbrenner said. In this revamped model, a numbered tag worn around the pet tells the person who finds the animal where
to go on the Internet to find more information, as well as a toll-free number to contact a representative. On the Web, the user
types in the lost pet's identification number, producing both a match and a means to contact the owner regarding their found pet.
Say, for instance, you leave on a camping vacation with your dog and she jumps out at a gas station in
Oregon and runs away. If she only has a tattoo or a city licence, it would appear the animal is a long way from its owner. In
reality, the owner can, at any time of the day or night, access the pet network and update the records. In this case, the owner
could let the finder know his or her location in Oregon and arrange for a quick reunion with the found pet and it's owner.
"Every time we identify a pet, we increase the value of animals," said Larry Evans, president and co-creator
of PetLynx™. Until now, he said, people who lost or found animals didn't always know who to contact, particularly if the animal
was outside its home town. "There were all kinds of recovery islands -- vets, humane societies, animal services -- this system
takes a lot of the headache out of the reunion of found pets and their owners."