Not so long ago a dog picked up by the city animal control officer and not claimed by its owner had little in the way of a future. But that’s changed now, thanks in part to a high-tech solution to an age-old problem.
A new website started a week ago by the city will now offer animal lovers a chance to find just the right canine friend at a low cost. The police department’s unwanted and abandoned dogs are now being posted on Petfinder.com, a popular pet-locator service that operates worldwide.
“Through Petfinder.com a person can type in their location and dog breed preference and the service will find the best matches for that person,” explained Det. Tim Porter. It’s Porter who is assisting Animal Control Officer Cheryla “Bullet” Boyd in getting the service up and running.
“This is just great. I attended some animal abuse training in Columbia recently and there were people there from all over the country. Most of them were using Petfinder.com,” Boyd said. Since posting the first animals with the site a week ago, there have been four dogs adopted with others being inquired about.
Boyd and Porter first started working on such a service more than six months ago. Part of that effort included purchasing a digital camera for Boyd to photograph the animals. Anyone going to the site can click on a dog’s name and see a brief description and photo.
Another related service in the works for the department is to photograph every animal picked up by animal control officer, then post those photos on a separate web page. Anyone missing an animal could then check the police department’s homepage and link through to the site and see if their animal had been picked up and was being housed at the pound.
As for abandoned animals, anyone wishing to adopt a dog can do so by simply signing an agreement to have the animal spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies. The new owner is then responsible for following through on the agreement in a timely manner and at their own cost.
And animal control is a big issue with the police department. Last year the department handled just less than 1,000 animals. So far this year Boyd has dealt with more than 1,060 animals to date.