What do people do when they find a lost dog or cat? In the city of Austin, many of them attempt to find the owner themselves. And, it’s often done with zero or little intervention on their behalf.
Mark Sloat, Program Manager of Austin Animal Services shared the Found Animal data from October 2019 through March 2020 during a recent presentation. AAS sent out a data survey and shared the findings.
Out of 210 responses 86% were found in the neighborhood they work or live in. Amazingly, 51% found the pets’ owners. How did they do it? Almost 30% found the owner through a microchip and another 27% were found by posting on Nextdoor (this is out of 107 responses). Microchips, Sloat said, “are worth their weight in gold. Most shelters pay between $3 and $5 [for a microchip] versus for us, it’s $41 a day to keep an animal.” The majority of these microchip scans take place at a veterinarian clinic. (Currently, every firehouse in Austin also has a microchip scanner.) Sloat thinks it’s “profound” that these good Samaritans take these unknown pets and put them in their car and drive them around in order to find their owner.
Nextdoor, if you are not familiar, is an app based on your location. Many neighborhoods have very robust followings. It’s used to buy or sell items, seek recommendations for professional services, air grievances and more.
It’s also important to note that 44% of pets are going home within a day and 34% are only a few houses away. And what about the pets that were unlucky and couldn’t find their owner? Well, 42% kept the animals and another 24% found a new home for the pet.
The community really cares about pets, and it’s important to educate them on what to do when they find a lost animal. The AAS provides guidance on their Found Animal webpage and Sloat also suggests really using Nextdoor to your advantage.