More help to find missing pets


You've probably heard about micro-chipping your pet.  Now there are additional high-tech ways to help get them home, should they wander off.

When Crimson found a way through her electric fence and was gone for days, her owner Andi Sims was beside herself.

"It's such a hopeless and helpless feeling. You want to do something, but you don't know what to do," says Sims.

What she did was distribute fliers offering a reward and she went to nearby vet offices. She also took her search to Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist.  A friend who saw her post about the missing dog saw another post about one that was found and connected the dots, or the dog, so to speak.

This is just one of many ways pets are being reunited with owners after going missing, an increasingly common trend according to the American Kennel Club.

"In 2010 we tracked 255 pet thefts, compare that to last year 2011 we tracked 432 pet thefts, so there was an increase of nearly 70 percent," says Lisa Peterson, Director of Communications with the American Kennel Club.

And those are just the cases they tracked through media and online reports. According to PetFinder.com, more than two million pets disappeared last year but less than 10-percent made their way back home.

Pet lifestyle expert Charlotte Reed claims companies are hoping to change that by bringing high tech options to animal owners. take the Tagg GPS system, for example.

"It's attached to your pet's collar and it will you track your pet in real time," says Reed.

You'll get a text or email when your dog or cat leaves the zone you set up and you'll see exactly where your pet is, as long as the collar is still on.  It does have an ongoing monthly fee to keep the GPS system active.

There are also products like Get Pets Home and DogIDs with QR codes in the collar to tell others about your animal.  You just register your pet online, then order an ID tag which can be read with a regular QR code app.

"So, if someone has the phone app they can scan the tag and find out all about your pet.  Also, there's Amber Alerts for pets where you can actually upload your data, pay a fee and they'll do all of the legwork for you," explains Reed. (petamberalert.com and amberalertforpets.com)

With animal theft becoming an issue around the country, the American Kennel Club still prefers micro-chipping, which is embedded under the animal's skin.  If your dog is taken, Peterson says notify the police.

"Tell them the dog has a microchip if it does, clearly, you know, get the word out. Put flyers up around the neighborhood," she says.

Web sites dedicated to missing pets also help.  No matter what, don't give up hope.

"In the last year or so we've seen pets who have returned home after eight years, 12 years," says Reed.

Sims made an appointment to get a microchip for Crimson.

"It was one experience that we never want to repeat," she says.