Program aims to easily reunite owners with lost pets
Watch the 60 second PSA produced by MOSAK Advertising Insight and the City's Channel 6
The City of Austin’s Animal Services Office is kicking off a citywide program offering members of the Austin and Travis County communities free pet I.D. tags and microchips to help keep pets out of the animal shelter system.
The free I.D. tags, collars and HomeAgain Microchips will be offered to all pet owners in the community from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the Austin Animal Center in Central East Austin at 7201 Levander Loop.
Public service announcements will be in various ads throughout the community during the months of April through June 2012, highlighting the need and importance of identifying pets.
Last year, 7,000 stray dogs ended up at the animal shelter and only 30 percent of those were reunited with their families. Many animals arrive in good health and with collars on, suggesting that it is some person’s missing pet. Without any identification on the pet there is no way to notify the owners. The animals wait the legally required three-day holding period and then move through the shelter system.
“What most people don’t realize is that after the three-day holding period the pet is available for adoption,” Chief Animal Services Officer Abigail Smith said. “People can’t afford to sit and wait to see if their pet comes home on their own, they need to visit the shelter or check the web site right away. If pets have identification on them they most likely can avoid the shelter all together.”
The information will be found on outdoor billboards, on the backs of taxi cabs, on City buses, in newspaper advertising, on promotional fliers, in social media and in television public service announcements.
Public awareness campaigns are just one strategy of the No-Kill Implementation Plan to help keep Austin a No-Kill city, saving at least 90 percent of sheltered animals. Partial funding for this program is being supported by a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 2011, Austin achieved a 91 percent live animal outcome rate for the entire year, making it the first major urban city in Texas to do so.
If a pet is lost, owners should call 3-1-1 right away and check the Animal Center’s website for a picture of the lost animal. Tips to locate a lost pet include placing fliers in neighborhoods; and posting information on social media outlets and on lost pet websites such as www.lostfoundpets.us