Animals are Like Your Children: Find Them After an Earthquake - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Your Animals are Like Your Children: Find Them After an Earthquake

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If you are like me then your animals are a beloved part of the family! The thought of my little Yorkie Pip going missing is absolutely devastating. Like any good pet owner all three of my dogs have dog tags, and microchips for added protection in the event they are lost. I'd thought I'd taken all the steps necessary to watch over my furry friends.

Then I learned about BARKCODE.

I was at a Red Cross gala in Santa Monica, California (http://redcrossla.org/santamonica/) and a woman was walking around in a ball gown with a cat. Naturally, everyone was drawn to the pretty blonde in the red dress carrying a cat. Karen Halligan is a shelter director (http://www.dochalligan.com/about/about.shtml) and proceeded to tell me all about BARKCODE. Before I sound like a commercial for a new product let me point out BARKCODE is in partnership with the Red Cross. So, if the Red Cross was speaking, I wanted to listen.

BARKCODE is a new kind of animal ID tag. It utilizes the most modern form of technology. The cellphone, smart-phone and the internet. It sells for ten dollars on the BARKCODE website and three dollars of that is a donation to the Red Cross.(www.barkcode.com See the bottom box on the "partnership with the American Red Cross.") Before you are turned off and think I'm just trying to sell you something please continue to read how BARKCODE is different and why they sold me.

Halligan was among the aide workers/veterinarians who went into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and noticed that many of the animals left behind were never reunited with their owners. She says too many had no animal tag at all and many that did have a tag were unreadable. I proceeded to look at my Pomeranian's tag and realized it too has been so scratched up and is so tiny in print that it too is barely readable.  "The BARKCODE tag is more indestructible" says Halligan.  Okay that is bonus number one.

Secondly, it allows multiple phone numbers to be included. How so you ask?  How could many numbers fit on a tiny dog tag?  Ah, that's where the web comes in. BARKCODE tags have a code on them, not your personal phone number.  When the code is researched a website pops up with all of your animal's contact info. That means, I can include a photo of my Pomeranian, back-up and emergency contact numbers as well as my own, and even my vet. So now, if Kiki is lost someone who finds her can try to find me by calling my home, my work, my neighbor, my mom and my vet. Kiki has had health issues so vet info matters to me.

Thirdly, you don't even have to be at your computer to research a lost pet. You don't need a smart-phone to look stuff up, but if you have one you can scan the ScanLife App, or go to the URL on the BARKCODE tag, or text a number, 43588, that will call up the animals info.

Since we live in earthquake country the issue of pets in shelters is a reality. In the event of a disaster some pets escape or their owners can't take them with them.  Halligan is trying to be a resource in such an event. I could feel her heartbreak as she looked back on Hurricane Katrina with the memory of so many dogs and cats never reunited with their owners. While my worry is not so much an earthquake I do worry about my Shih Tzu Bella running out the door when someone's not looking. Already, to my shock, before I had BARKCODE Kiki was brought home one day.  Thank goodness it was a neighbor who found her and knew where to find home and me, momma. 

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