CENTRAL ISLIP, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Suffolk County announced a new Lost Pet Network Tuesday in an effort to reunite owners with their beloved missing pets.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, Jr., was joined by Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross to announce the new program.
It will provide participating owners with a printed pet identification card and enrolled pets will be added to a database designed to help quickly locate missing animals.
"As Suffolk County Sheriff, my priority is keeping residents safe, and that extends to the four-legged members of our communities," Toulon said. "The Sheriff's Lost Pet Network will help Deputy Sheriffs and other municipal partners swiftly and safely locate residents' missing pets by utilizing an ID-driven database. I look forward to embarking on this new program that will hopefully return more dogs and cats back to their loving families."
The American Humane Society estimates that each year, approximately 10 million pets are lost in the United States, and tragically, only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats in shelters without microchips are reunited with their owners.
Until now, Suffolk County has lacked one central method for people to report missing pets and spread the news across the necessary channels. Suffolk pet owners can now protect their pets from going missing by registering for the Sheriff's Lost Pet Network to receive a free physical identification card and be added to the Sheriff's pet database.
If a registered pet is reported missing, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office will send an alert and share identifying information with Deputy Sheriffs and local municipalities. Any enrolled pets that go missing will also be posted on a designated website and on the Sheriff's social media pages.
"This is another valuable tool that can assist pet owners when locating a lost pet," Carpenter said. "We commend Sheriff Toulon for creating this worthwhile program, and look forward to its success."
In order to participate, residents will need to fill out a brief form and provide a clear picture of their pet. The information collected will include breed, address, contact information, and any medical needs.
The information will be stored in a secure database, which will help the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office alert the appropriate stakeholders if a pet goes missing. Each pet is assigned a unique number (on the pet ID card) that will link to the database so the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office can quickly disseminate accurate identifying information about the missing pet and help to swiftly and safely return the animal to its owner.
After enrolling, residents can pick up a physical copy of the ID card at the Sheriff's Civil Enforcement Bureau at 360 Yaphank Ave. For more information on how to enroll or to view missing pets, visit SuffolkSheriff.com.