Nation/World

Web Site Helps Find Missing Pets

There’s a way to tell people about your missing pet beyond tacking signs on telephone poles.

The Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has made its new Animal Care site on the World Wide Web available to people who want to advertise missing or found cats and dogs.

No, Congress didn’t tell the agency to do it. There was no posting in the government gazette known as the Federal Register. There’s no budget per se. It was just a public service idea from the agency’s home page designer, veterinarian Jerry DePoyster.

“People have not really caught on to using the Web for this yet,” DePoyster said. “That’s one of the ideas behind doing this, to sort of get people keyed into using the Web and also keyed into keeping a picture of the animal.”

The page can display pictures scanned from ordinary photographs. The lost and found animals are listed by state.

The site will also help research institutions make sure they do not receive lost or stolen animals, he said. Only about a dozen notices have been listed since the page started in the summer, but DePoyster expects more activity once word gets out. The agency first mentioned the service this week in a press release.

“It’s a good step,” said Sally Fekety, the animal shelter specialist at the Humane Society of the United States.

xxxx FIDO NET The Animal Care site on the World Wide Web: http://www.aphis.usda.gov:80/reac



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