JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — If you’ve ever lost a pet, you’ll know just how much of an anxiety-filled and heartbreaking experience it can be.
Ahead of National Lost Dog and Cat Awareness day on Friday, April 23, Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole tells us how the Jacksonville Humane Society is partnering with nonprofit Petco Love on a special program to help reunite pets with their owners.
“I got two pit bulls, and I got one husky,” said Chico Martinez.
He told Cole his pets are like his family, and the love for pets runs in the family too.
“...And my dad has a Chihuahua and his name is Canelo. He’s like ‘ye’ big — but he thinks he’s like this big!” said Martinez.
Even just by looking at Martinez with his mask on, Cole could tell how much joy it brought him to talk about his pets.
But it was equally painful for him to tell her about his experience of losing a pet.
“It really hurt me because, at the time, when I first got that dog in particular, I was, what, in the sixth grade. Her name was Bambi. She had an extra pinkie, and we loved her to death, and we actually sadly lost her when she was pregnant. So I’ve never seen her since. And like it broke my heart. I cried,” Martinez said.
On Friday, April 23, the Jacksonville Humane Society and Petco Love are launching a new searchable, national and online database.
The new database will make finding your lost pet as easy as uploading a picture of your missing cat or dog to help figure out if it could be with your neighbor or at a nearby shelter.
“We’re encouraging all pet parents to go to the site and go ahead and register your pets now. So that way, in the event of an emergency, you can just go in and mark, ‘My pet is missing.’ I have multiple pets at my home. And so I’m going to create a profile for every single one of them,” said Lindsay Layendecker, the assistant development director at the Jacksonville Humane Society.
The database uses patented facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier.
“One in 3 pets will go missing during their lifetime. And that’s a pretty staggering number. And we see them come here to the shelter. And many times, they don’t get found by their owners,” said Layendecker.
She said this is a great step for pet parents to take before hurricane season begins.
“We always recommend that pet parents, you know, make sure they have their vaccine records, their microchip info. Go ahead and [now] upload your pet into Petco Love Lost ahead of hurricane season. Should there be an emergency, and you get separated from your pet, you can instantly use that, and it’ll be a national database. So if your pet is somehow rescued and brought to another state, you could easily find your pet that way.”
The link to the database is www.petcolovelost.org
Cox Media Group