More pets missing, but Web comes to the rescue

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_ Don’t leave a dog unattended in a yard, especially if it’s visible from the street.

_ If a stranger approaches to admire your dog, don’t answer questions about the pet’s value or where you live.

_ Never leave a dog alone in a car. Thieves in search of GPS systems or laptops may let a dog out.

_ Don’t tie your dog outside a store. If you have errands, use pet-friendly stores or leave your dog home.

_ Use a collar tag and a microchip with updated online information.

If a dog does go missing, an owner should contact local animal shelters and neighbors. If anyone saw the theft, police will get involved. Some local newspapers, radio and TV stations put missing pets on their websites.

Digital services like, and are growing, too. Each year, there are 10 percent to 15 percent more callers to, said founder Mark Jakubczak.

For a fee (starting at $99.95), the service will call neighbors with a computer-generated message and fax posters to pet-related businesses. Jakubczak said recovery ranges from 62 percent to 84 percent, he said.

“Every year we find more and more pets, so it’s very rewarding,” Jakubczak said.

HomeAgain offers a free app called petrescuers, which taps into a network of 900,000 people nationwide. You have to be a member to report a lost pet, but there is no charge to those who find pets, said company spokesman Ryan Smith.

Other petfinding companies include ipetalert, lostpetusa and lostpettracker.

“Losing your dog creates anxiety, panic. It’s devastating, you don’t know where your best friend is,” Peterson said. “Time is of the essence. The longer you wait to get the word out, the farther away they could be

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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