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LostPetPR connecting owners to missing animals via Facebook

(June 28, 2013) Two years ago, a Delaware woman started a Facebook page connecting owners of lost pets to a network of eyes in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Now, that site has more than 1,600 “likes” and nearly 100 photos of reunited pets and owners.

“It is a community effort,” said LostPetPR founder and Delaware shop owner Andrea B. “We have a lot of people on there,” she said, and that is “is what should encourage people to use us.”

Even when she is busy at her shop, group members share and repost information. Last week, a missing husky — eventually found — was shared more than 200 times on Facebook.

Andrea (who preferred not to use her last name) was inspired to start LostPetPR after hearing the story of Jack, a cat that became a high-profile figure after escaping from a dropped carrier at the JFK Airport and being found two months later. Jack was put to sleep shortly after because of malnutrition, wounds and infection.

“It was a really good example of how people don’t care and how they don’t take this thing seriously,” she said.

Animal shelters’ busiest day of the year is July 5, following fireworks and commotion that can send pets running, and Andrea suggests keeping pets indoors starting at 5 p.m., even in the days leading up to the Fourth of July, when personal fireworks displays start.

If a pet goes missing, starting a search immediately is the most important step, she said.

“Once you lose that initial first few hours, your chances (of finding a missing pet) really go down,” she said.

The LostPetPR Facebook page provides search tips and suggestions and information on how to make a missing pet flier. It also lists animal shelters in the Delmarva area and local newspapers to contact about placing classified ads for missing pets.

This information can prove especially useful for vacationers, who are at a disadvantage when a pet goes missing.

“They don’t know where they are. They don’t know where the shelters are,” Andrea said. Moreover, “a dog that may be focused on you and pay attention to you in your yard at home may not do that in summer time in Ocean City.”

To help prevent pets from getting lost, keep collars with tags and leashes on dogs at all times. Microchips also increase the chances of finding lost pets.

While LostPetsPR helps connect pet owners with a network of volunteers, owners should still file a missing pet report with the local animal shelter.

To learn more and connect with LostPetPR, visit www.facebook/com/LostPetPR. Those wishing to get more involved can re-post information, pass out fliers, make phone calls or join search groups looking for lost pets.

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