A new way to find man’s lost best friend

When the human companions of Kody, a brown Havanese dog, left for vacation last summer, he was dropped off at San Mateo resident Connie Weiss’s house. But, later that day, when a visitor came over, Kody bolted out the door, down the block and into unknown territory.

Thus began the great search for Kody: a search that involved many friends, family and even some strangers, a search that started in the afternoon and lasted past midnight, a search that was — thanks to police, shelter workers and dog-lovers — eventually successful.

Unknown to Weiss at the time, the search also would inspire a business venture. After Kody was found by police on busy Highway 92, taken to a shelter and returned to the grateful arms of his caregivers, Weiss and her friends couldn’t help but think that there needed to be more tools to help owners reunite with their lost pets.

About six months later, PetALERTZ was launched on Weiss’s new Web site, MyPetStreet.com.

PetALERTZ is intended to be a tool to help people alert a neighborhood of a lost — or found — pet. Pet owners register their pets online, posting updated photos and information.

If a pet is lost or stolen, the owner can go online and send out an alert. All other registrants in the zip code will receive the message to be on the lookout for the pet.

The alert will also be sent to a humane society shelter, where the lost-and-found division will compare the poster with the animals that have been recently found.

Though Weiss plans to eventually make the program a national one, the plan is starting locally. Weiss has partnered with the Peninsula Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to get the word out about the new tool.

Humane Society spokesman Scott Delucchi said the idea is a good one, and said the shelter will begin giving out information about PetALERTZ with their new adoption kits and to people who are searching for lost pets.

He said the shelter picks up between 6,000 and 7,000 stray pets a year, and gets several visits or calls from distressed pet owners every day. Though he stressed that the new tool shouldn’t be used alone — a visit to the shelter is also needed — he said it could be very useful in getting more eyes out in search of the pet.

“We want to support any tool out there that could help people in that awful situation of having lost their pet,” he said. “We see far more of them than anybody else. We see it every single day.”

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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