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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2018 02:23 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Lost Dog Registry and Clearinghouse
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to establish a 24-hour Lost Dog hotline and online dog registry within the state Department of Agriculture.

Many dogs are lost --and found --on weekends and after normal business hours, prompting most Pennsylvanians to call 9-1-1 to report a lost or found dog. Many social-media-savvy citizens also post to Facebook, but their reach is limited by geography and the number of social connections established. Calling a brick-and-mortar shelter, circulating printed flyers, hanging posters, and taking out a classified ad are other, more traditional ways to notify surrounding neighborhoods of a lost or recovered pet, but their reach is also limited.

In recent months, my office has been involved in several lost dog calls. In one case, the dog was running along a township road, and several drivers stopped in traffic, caught the dog and called local police, who took the dog away. In another, the dog was running through traffic along a state highway, and state police were called. In yet another case, a licensed dog was found in a residential area, but the finder could not reach the county Treasurer because it was after 5 p.m. Fortunately, the finder was able to locate the Treasurer through mutual friends on Facebook, private-message the county official, and facilitate a happy reunion with the owner.

These disparate strategies for connecting lost dogs with finders and owners point to Pennsylvania's fragmented approach to connecting people who have lost dogs with people who have found dogs. Without no uniform strategy, the current patchwork system of responses does not allow for the easiest, most modern and most far-reaching outreach avenues, nor are they the most effective uses of police and telecommunicator resources, especially if a dog has crossed county, city, borough, or township lines. Some Pennsylvanians are also not Facebook users, nor do they have Internet access.

Under my legislation, those who have both lost and found dogs will have access to a “one-stop-shop” clearinghouse of information about dogs at the state level, via both a telephone hotline and an online reporting system. By sharing information quickly and easily, more dogs can be returned to their rightful owners.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation and helping to reunite dogs with their owners more expeditiously, easily and safely.

Introduced as SB1057