UPPER TOWNSHIP — Social media has become a valuable tool to help reunite pets with their caretakers. Shore Animal Control, the largest private animal control company in South Jersey, uses social media daily to return more than 1,000 pets to date in the many municipalities it serves. The average yearly return of pets through the page is about 120 a year.
"Our goal is to do everything possible to locate caretakers rather than take the easy route and drop off at the shelter. Our nine animal control officers all have access to our Facebook page and immediately post any lost or found pets. Usually within two hours we can relocate pets with their family," said Linda Gentille, manager of the company.
Local officials understand that returning pets to families rather than taking them to the shelter not only reduces stress on pets, but saves taxpayers money. Shelter costs each municipality pays are based partly on the number of animals taken to the shelter each year.
Shore Animal Control's Facebook page has more than 14,000 followers and a weekly viewership of 30,000 to 50,000, making it the "go to" site for lost and found pets in Cape May and Atlantic County.
Gentille continued, “Facebook is one of the greatest things to happen to help in relocating pets. Of course the ideal situation would be every pet would have proper external identification, however that is not always the situation. In cases where external ID or microchips are not present, we turn to social media.”
SAC advises the public always to contact their local police department and animal control prior to any posting and never to return pets on their own Facebook page without confirming ownership through their own animal control officer. Unfortunately, there have been horror stories of people posting pets and not verifying proper ownership first with animal control. No one should ever give a free kitten or puppy away on Facebook either. Contacting your local animal shelter can help protect innocent animals from harm.
SAC has a loyal following on its Facebook page of people who love animals and help share postings. To visit the page and follow the local animal community awareness program they created, see ShoreAnimalControl.com which will take you to their page.
The officers from SAC encourage all residents to tag and license their pets for the safe return of their pets.
Anyone with a lost or found pet in the following municipalities can call 800-351-1822: Lower Township, Upper Township, Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Woodbine, Estell Manor, Corbin City, Buena and Buena Vista. Those in other municipalities can contact their local police to locate their animal control officer.