On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest weather-related disasters in American history made landfall in Louisiana, wreaking havoc, taking more than 1,800 lives, and stranding more than 250,000 pets. American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue team was there on the ground in the days after the storm, rescuing pets and reuniting them with their owners – making families whole again.
Now, just in time for the tenth anniversary of that historic disaster, American Humane Association, which has saved and sheltered millions of animals over the past 100 years is teaming up with The Weather Channel and mobiPET™ to unveil a new, high-tech, visual “AMBER Alert” for missing pets that not only will help reunite lost pets with their owners, but will help raise funds to help animals in need all across the country.
Basic Service Free
mobiPET is the first mobile image and information service designed to increase the chances that families will find their lost dogs or cats. Pet owners can register via computer or mobile device, but must use a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone to submit a lost pet alert. Owners simply upload their pet’s image and contact information at www.mobipet.me to register each pet and receive the web app for their phone. If the dog or cat runs off pet owners can text the word “LOST” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Smartphone owners can either text or open the web app and click on “Lost a Pet.” The basic registration is free and mobiPET will donate 10 percent of all premium service subscriptions to American Humane Association when pet parents include “AHA” on the referral line. Basic subscribers’ lost pet alert will trigger an immediate email blast to their vet and all registered pet owners and pet finders in a two-mile radius or to their registered community. Premium service subscribers’ paid lifetime alert will reach animal shelters and control centers within a 30-mile radius and will protect their pet while traveling. They will also receive a flyer to print, post on social media or email.
Help for Pet Owners in Disaster Areas Where Red Star Deploys
American Humane Association’s century-old Red Star® Rescue program, which comes to the aid of lost, missing and homeless pets following hurricanes, tornadoes and floods has enlisted mobiPET to help find and reunite owners with their pets following weather-related or other disasters. Any pet owner who loses a pet in a disaster area to which Red Star deploys and who owns a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone can go to the websites of mobiPET, The Weather Channel, or American Humane Association and upload their missing pet’s photo from the owner’s computer or cell phone.
Generally, non-registered owners whose pet becomes lost can access the service for a $50.00 emergency registration fee, but during a Red Star deployment, mobiPet is waiving the fee for those within the disaster area.
10 Million Pets Lost Each Year
In addition to disasters, this new service will also help find pets who are lost in the normal course of life. Some 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in this country every year and the mobiPET partnership aims to increase the number of happy endings to these traumatic episodes.
“Whether it’s as low tech as adding a phone number to a pet tag or high tech as storing your best friends’ pictures in a digital database, it is important to do anything you can to help prevent the heartbreak of losing a pet forever before the animal goes missing,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “While the vast majority of pets are found and returned, significant numbers of dogs and cats are taken to shelters where reunion rates are low because contact information is out of date or completely missing.”
“Microchips are only good when the animal is found, the chip scanned, and if owners’ information is current. We saw the chance for mobile technology to lead by addressing the ‘lost’ part of the process,” according to Dave Ropes, co-founder and Chief Pet-Finder of Bluffton, SC-based mobiPet™, adding, “mobiPET helps owners, pets, animal shelters and rescue groups. Our goal is to donate 15% of our revenue annually to American Humane Association and to local shelters who help promote pet/owner registrations.”
“During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, far too many owners were unable to find and be reunited with their beloved pets,” said Ganzert. “This is tragic for the animals as well as the owners, and puts additional physical and emotional strain on shelters and volunteers. We encourage advance preparedness for all pet owners, including updating vet records and signing up for mobiPET before there’s a weather emergency.”