King County animal-services agency helps owner find lost pets

June 11, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 11 a.m. June 11, 2011

Regional Animal Services of King County is joining the nonprofit Missing Pet Partnership to help pet owners search for lost animals.

Through the program, Shelter Pet Detective, Regional Animal Services volunteers can receive training from the Missing Pet Partnership to offer hands-on assistance to people searching for a lost cat or dog. Plans call for volunteers to be trained to find the owners of lost pets already at the shelter.

“Pets are family, and when they go missing, it can be traumatic,” Sarah Luthens, Regional Animal Services manager of volunteer programs, said in a news release. “With the Shelter Pet Detective program, we’re hoping to get more eyes and ears on the streets looking for strays. The volunteers will also help us locate owners whose lost pet is in the shelter.”

People interested in becoming a Shelter Pet Detective can attend a free orientation Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at Unity Church of Kent, 218 State Ave. S.

The agency is offering additional training 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 25 and July 2 at the Regional Animal Services shelter in Kent, 21615 64th Ave. S.

Contact Luthens at 206-296-3946 or sarah.luthens@kingcounty.gov to register.

Initially, the program focuses on animals panicked by Independence Day fireworks. Following the holiday, trained volunteers at the Kent shelter plan to offer free assistance to the public, including free posters, “tagging” vehicles sporting neon window markers and free lost pet consultations.

“We’re excited to join with Missing Pet Partnership on the Shelter Pet Detective program. And while it will help reunite lost pets with their owners, it’s also important for people to license and microchip their cat or dog,” Luthens added. “A pet that is licensed and microchipped has a much better chance of being reunited with its owner.”

Kat Albrecht, a former police detective-turned-pet detective, founded the Missing Pet Partnership in 2001.

“The return to owner rate for lost pets in animal shelters across the country is extremely low — only 16 percent for lost dogs and a dismal two percent for lost cats,” she said in a news release. “The Shelter Pet Detective program can improve that rate dramatically. Through our collaboration with Regional Animal Services of King County, Missing Pet Partnership ultimately hopes to duplicate that success across the nation.”

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