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New Technology Helps Phoenix Pet Owners Find Lost Animals

Lost animal map
(Photo courtesy of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control)
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control's lost animal map.

It’s like a Google map, but instead of Thai restaurants, it shows you where cats and dogs were lost or found in the city.

In 2012, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control launched their stray animal mapping tool. Spokeswoman Melissa Gable said the map worked well for animals that were turned into the shelter. The shelter employees would then update the map, including information on where the pet was found — but Gable said there was a limitation.

"We’re finding that there’s just folks out there that just aren’t comfortable bringing the animal to the shelter," Gable said. "So what we have done to enhance the tool is actually allow the public to put their own information in."

That new feature officially launched today. Now the map acts as a sort of digital bank of “lost dog posters.” Anyone who loses or finds a cat or dog can click on the map where it happened, fill in their information and even upload a photo.

Gable thinks it might help rescue groups, too, many of which don’t necessarily come into contact with the county’s shelters in their rescue work. There are rescue groups of all types and sizes in the Valley, and she said it can get overwhelming.

"It’s just really confusing as a pet owner if you’ve lost a pet, [and]  there’s so many places to look," said Gable.

Now, even if a pet has not been physically turned over to a county shelter, the map can still be a resource for locating Lassie, Fluffy or Maude. You can view the map by clicking here.

Annika Cline was a producer for KJZZ's The Show from 2014 to 2019.