WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest weather-related disasters in American history made landfall in Louisiana, wreaking havoc, taking more than 1,800 lives, and stranding more than 250,000 pets. American Humane Association's Red Star Rescue team was there on the ground in the days after the storm, rescuing pets and reuniting them with their owners — making families whole again.
Now, just in time for the tenth anniversary of that historic disaster, American Humane Association, which has saved and sheltered millions of animals over the past 100 years (http://bit.ly/1hi2Ygg), is teaming up with The Weather Channel and mobiPET™ (www.mobipet.me) to unveil a new, high-tech, visual "AMBER Alert" for missing pets that not only will help reunite lost pets with their owners, but will help raise funds to help animals in need all across the country.
Basic Service Free
mobiPET is the first mobile image and information service designed to increase the chances that families will find their lost dogs or cats. Pet owners can register via computer or mobile device, but must use a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone to submit a lost pet alert. Owners simply upload their pet's image and contact information at www.mobipet.me to register each pet and receive the web app for their phone. If the dog or cat runs off pet owners can text the word "LOST" to firstname.lastname@example.org. Smartphone owners can either text or open the web app and click on "Lost a Pet." The basic registration is free and mobiPET will donate 10 percent of all premium service subscriptions to American Humane Association when pet parents include "AHA" on the referral line. Basic subscribers' lost pet alert will trigger an immediate email blast to their vet and all registered pet owners and pet finders in a two-mile radius. Premium service subscribers' paid lifetime alert will reach animal shelters and control centers within a 30-mile radius and will protect their pet while traveling. They will also receive a flyer to print, post on social media or email.
Butler the Weather Channel Therapy Dog Enlists to Show How Easy Signing Up Is
To show how easy signing up is and encourage pet owners to take advantage of this service, Butler the Weather Channel Therapy Dog, who travels the country bringing hope and healing to communities hurt by natural disasters, is becoming an early adopter and will become one of the first dogs to enlist in the program. On average it takes three minutes to enroll – minutes that can make a significant difference when faced with a disaster.
Help for Pet Owners in Disaster Areas Where Red Star Deploys
American Humane Association's century-old Red Star® Rescue program, which comes to the aid of lost, missing and homeless pets following hurricanes, tornadoes and floods has enlisted mobiPET to help find and reunite owners with their pets following weather-related or other disasters. Any pet owner who loses a pet in a disaster area to which Red Star deploys and who owns a smartphone or text-enabled cellphone can go to the websites of mobiPET (http://mobipet.me/?ref=AHA), The Weather Channel's Connect with Weather site (www.connectwithweather.com/our-partners), or American Humane Association (www.americanhumane.org) and upload their missing pet's photo from the owner's computer or cell phone.
Generally, non-registered owners whose pet becomes lost can access the service for a $50.00 emergency registration fee, but during a Red Star deployment, mobiPet is waiving the fee for those within the disaster area.
10 Million Pets Lost Each Year
In addition to disasters, this new service will also help find pets who are lost in the normal course of life.
Some 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in this country every year and the mobiPET partnership aims to increase the number of happy endings to these traumatic episodes.
"Whether it's as low tech as adding a phone number to a pet tag or high tech as storing your best friends' pictures in a digital database, it is important to do anything you can to help prevent the heartbreak of losing a pet forever before the animal goes missing," says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "While the vast majority of pets are found and returned, significant numbers of dogs and cats are taken to shelters where reunion rates are low because contact information is out of date or completely missing."
"Microchips are only good when the animal is found, the chip scanned, and if owners' information is current. We saw the chance for mobile technology to lead by addressing the 'lost' part of the process," according to Dave Ropes, co-founder and Chief Pet-Finder of Bluffton, SC-based mobiPet, adding, "mobiPET helps owners, pets, animal shelters and rescue groups. Our goal is to donate 15% of our revenues annually to American Humane Association and to local shelters who help promote pet/owner registrations."
"During Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, far too many owners were unable to find and be reunited with their beloved pets," said Ganzert. "This is tragic for the animals as well as the owners, and puts additional physical and emotional strain on shelters and volunteers. We encourage advance preparedness for all pet owners, including updating vet records and signing up for mobiPET before there's a weather emergency."
Pet owners in the U.S. are encouraged to visit www.mobiPet.me, www.AmericanHumane.org or www.connectwithweather.com/our-partners to learn more about the Red Star® Rescue program partnership, register their dog or cat and help support the American Humane Association's efforts to help animals in need.
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.
About Red Star® Rescue
American Humane Association's Red Star program was created in 1916 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War specifically to rescue war horses on the battlefields of World War I Europe. Since then, Red Star has been rescuing animals of every kind and have been involved in virtually every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma tornadoes, the Japanese and Haitian earthquakes, and Superstorm Sandy. Over just the past ten years Red Star teams have saved, helped and sheltered more than 80,000 animals.
mobiPET™ was cofounded in 2012 by Aram Kovach, CEO of Mobius International and David Ropes, a former senior marketing executive and Vietnam veteran. mobiPET sends out an immediate photo alert for your missing pet. mobiPET offers a free basic subscription service along with two premium offerings for your pet(s). mobiPET works across all cell phones with a text plan and all carriers. Based in Bluffton, SC, mobiPET's corporate mission is to reunite as many lost pets with their owners as possible and to donate 15% of the company's annual revenues to non-profit animal rescue and shelter organizations. mobiPET has been in test market in the Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC area since October 2013, as well as The Villages community in Florida since June 2015.
SOURCE American Humane Association