Tuesday, February 20, 2024

RSPCA teams up with Animal Search UK to help reunite much-loved missing pets in Essex

FROM the beginning of April, the animal welfare charity has started using Animal Search UK to help reunite missing animals with their owners.

If a stray comes into RSPCA care via its team of officers, the animal will now be registered on the Animal Search website, which will automatically match any found pets with a lost animal of the same description. Members of the public who contact the RSPCA will also be encouraged to register them in the same way.

With 23 years’ experience in the field, Animal Search’s website is completely free and owners don’t have to pay to register their pet as missing. A 24-hour customer advice and information line is available and additional services such as specialist publicity campaigns and a fully uniformed missing pet search team can also be accessed, often using your existing pet insurance policy.

Almost 10,000 pets* were reported missing on the website in 2021 alone.

Due to the high volume of registered users and the awareness that Animal Search already has in place, it’s hoped the new partnership with the RSPCA will result in more pets being reunited with their owners.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “It’s devastating when a much-loved pet goes missing, so we’re really pleased to be partnering with Animal Search, who have been helping to reunite missing pets with their owners since 1999.

“We hope that their extensive knowledge and resources in this area, free website, pet search teams and seven-day advice and information service, will result in more animals being successfully reunited with their owners, should the unthinkable happen.

“In the first instance, the RSPCA would always recommend that owners get their pets microchipped** as this gives them the best chance of being identified and quickly reunited with you if they become lost or stolen.”

Andy McNair, from one of Animal Search’s missing pet search teams, said: “No one expects to lose their pet and even fewer people know what to do when the worst happens. The most important thing anyone can do when an animal goes missing is to build awareness and act quickly. Time is crucial and that is why having services like ours readily on hand, are second to none.”

“We also have a ‘Petwatch’ community of more than 86,000 online volunteers who receive email alerts of pets that go missing in their area. So we’d encourage owners to pre-register their animals with us so that if the worst happens, our volunteers can start looking out for them immediately, which drastically speeds up the process and increases the chances of a successful reunion.”

Tips for what to do if your pet goes missing

Check your home and local area thoroughly
If the animal is definitely missing, register them with an organisation like Animal Search
If you suspect your animal may have been stolen, please contact the police
Call your microchip company so they can flag your pet as missing. This will also alert them to anyone trying to re-register the same microchip number
Call your local RSPCA branch and other local animal welfare organisations
Contact your local vets
Talk to neighbours, postman, etc, as they may have seen the animal or observed something suspicious at the time they went missing, and ask local people to check sheds or garages
Put flyers on notice boards and through letter boxes
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.

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