smallspark

That’s all it takes to start something. One little spark….

Looking for a lost pet – WHAT a MESS!

Posted by smallspark on June 2, 2008

So I’ve been looking around in my spare time and somehow have gotten in the habit of trying to match lost pets with found pets. This is accomplished by looking at many lost pet website.   For example – http://www.craigslist.com, http://www.petfinder.com,  www.petdetective.com. http://www.pets911.com and then some regional and local shelters plus specialty breed websites whose pets aren’t aggregated into these other mainstreem sites. gulp. There are tons more sites out there where people can post. 

WHAT a MESS!

This is a REALLY time consuming process and the odds of finding your pet are just pathetic.  The searchable fields are practically nonexistent and when they are there – it doesn’t seem like the chosen fields actually get applied. Most ask for your zip code and then you start off with your local shelter info then seemingly random locations.

Of course, given the way shelters move animals around in efforts to get them adopted out and/or alive this probably doesn’t matter. Animals can end up almost anywhere once they get in the system.

Then there are the animals that never get in the system due to being adopted by the finder, and exactly how I got sucked into the mess people deal with when they find a pet. I wanted to find anyone who posted a lost cat ad which matched one(s) I found. I didn’t find the ads. I didn’t find a new place for the cats. But due to the mess out there, that doesn’t mean people didn’t post one.  (Aside: This is exactly how dog-centric, cat allergic me now has FOUR, yes, FOUR cats. *sob* I wanted two doggies but now I have cats.  So the dogs are on hold. I guess. Because ‘m not sure I could survive cats vs. dogs. Really. I might die.)

Anyway, for the ones that DO get in the system, there are still problems. There the posts which don’t use useful keywords in their postings for fear of the animals being taken by unlawful people. (i.e.” I picked up a dog and it was matted. Tell me what your dog looks like and I’ll tell you if I’ve got your dog.”) Uhm. This is REALLY safe for the pet as it almost guarantees the owner, if they found your posting among the thousands of similar ads, or various websites, will pass by this ad – almost looking at it like spam. Plus this type of posting by the finder will most likely have issues being picked up by a search term used by the searcher.

Sad to say posting and searching has another BIG issue. Knowledge and application.  The whole process is based on an assumption that the animal you lost is an easily identifiable breed, identified correctly, with an easily identified color combination and pattern, again, identified correctly. In your posting on a website which someone hopefully found, using the SAME search terms. Example: Brown vs. Tan vs gold. Missing vs. lost. 

Oh my freaking god. 

I have some ideas about this that bring the pet search industry (made mostly of good Samaritans doing this for FREE) into the web 2.0 world.

I wish I were a programmer. I wish I could sit down in one place long enough to be a programmer.

I’d love to chat about this to someone who would work with me – maybe turn this into an open source project. Team effort type of thing.

I’ll be looking around more on the web to see more what I find. If anyone sees anything, let me know.

Right now, if you have a lost pet – I wish you good luck. You’re gonna need it.

-Dana

 

 

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One Response to “Looking for a lost pet – WHAT a MESS!”

  1. smallspark said

    Ok I’m commenting on myself:

    Found this opensource site which mentions the Katrina peoplefinder project

    http://socialsource.blogspot.com/2005/09/katrina-peoplefinder-project.html

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