The missing list - the new link for missing dogs
THE HEARTBREAK of a missing pet is all too familiar to many dog owners in the UK – whether their dogs have strayed or have been victims of the growing tide of dog theft. However, there is now a new weapon in the arsenal to help track down missing dogs – and other animals in the form of a single point of focus for ‘missing pets’ on the Internet, the Missing List - www.themissinglist.co.uk
The Missing List provides a facility that is specifically created to improve dramatically the chances of getting back just about anything – including your much loved pet – that has been lost or stolen. Petlog, the Kennel Club’s Pet Identification Service, has been working closely with the developers of the site to ensure that all the knowledge that Petlog has gained over the 10 years that it has been reuniting lost pets, has been taken into consideration. The result is a powerful database able to deal with this type of difficult situation.
Users can search a huge database, browse rewards, post appeals (or offer rewards) from the comfort of their own home and, importantly, within an environment that has been designed to keep users safe and within the law. Loss, whether by accident or criminal activity, induces a feeling of helplessness; the Missing List aims to return control by providing this unique recovery resource.
The Missing List went ‘live’ late last week and was unveiled to dog owners at the second Dog Theft Action symposium last Saturday, where it was given a warm reception by those present (see report on page this issue…)
In devising a working system, the Missing List team has sought the involvement of experts in all the key fields of interest – the police, major charities, trade associations, academic and commercial organisations. Working partners include Petlog and the Kennel Club, Dog Theft Action, Crimestoppers, Missing People (formerly the National Missing Person’s Helpline), the Art Loss Register and OPERC (Off Highway Plant and Equipment Research Centre).
‘Think of it as a Google for the lost or stolen - then include the user participation of Wikipedia and for good measure add the functionality of eBay,’ says Paul Burridge, founder of the site. ‘And you are getting close to how the Missing List works.’
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said ‘We have been working with the Missing List organisation for some time and are very happy to see the site launched. In addition to Petlog’s 24/7 service for all microchipped pets, this service will provide all pet owners across the country with assistance in finding lost animals. With the introduction of this facility, there is now even more help to ensure pet owners get their pets back quicker than ever before.’
The Missing List encourages users to be proactive. In addition to the Search and Posting facilities there’s a ‘virtual safe deposit’ option where registered users can store ownership information - photographs, serial numbers etc – so as to be best prepared should the worst happen. There’s also a Personal Security Store which makes available ‘simple devices that save lives’ such as attack alarms, portable door and window alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well as an RFID (microchip) property protection solution specifically aimed at the ordinary householder.
A prominent feature of the site is the Local Search facility. This enables users to search within a designated radius of a given postcode. Users, be they police officers or members of the general public, have the facility to post information on a Local Noticeboard which will appear in postcode searches. This will allow information to be targeted with great precision. Users can also opt for regular local updates by email.
The Missing List takes user safety very seriously - suffering loss can make people feel emotionally vulnerable and offering a reward can lead to physical vulnerability. Built in to the Missing List system is a personal Control Centre where contact between users and respondents can be conducted in complete anonymity. The site also features a comprehensive ‘User Safety Guide’ aimed at making users aware of how to minimise any potential impact on their personal safety. Throughout the site there are warnings that, if followed, will avoid any legal issues associated with posting appeals.
Searching the site is free. To post an appeal the user is required to register. Registration costs £1 and this includes posting one appeal. Any further appeals are charged at £1. Funds raised in this way are donated to the charity of the user’s choice from the Missing List roster. All the facilities on the site are free of charge for the police, charities, and local authorities. Commercial users are charged for posting appeals.