New York Sheriff Launches Database for Finding Lost Pets, Hopes it Will Become a National Model

Vanessa Etienne

A New York sheriff is looking to make a nationwide impact with his new initiative for keeping pets in the community safe.

On Tuesday, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. introduced a new database to help local pet parents quickly locate missing animals.

The Lost Pet Network will enroll pets into a database and provide owners with a printed pet identification card. If an enrolled four-legged friend goes missing, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office will send an alert with the pet's information to deputy sheriffs and local municipalities. Information about the lost pet will also be shared on social media accounts to aid in the animal's return.

Suffolk County sheriff creates database for missing pets, hopes it will become a national model

"Centralized and organized because right now there is nothing in Suffolk County to really assist pets that are lost," Toulon said during a briefing in the Town of Islip. "Not only would we alert our staff that may be on patrol in certain areas, but also we would post it on social media, we would notify shelters."

"As Suffolk County Sheriff, my priority is keeping residents safe, and that extends to the four-legged members of our communities," he added. "I look forward to embarking on this new program that will hopefully return more dogs and cats back to their loving families."

According to the American Humane, approximately 10 million pets are lost every year in the United States, and only 15% of the missing dogs and 2% of the missing cats that end up in the shelters without ID tags or microchips reunite with their owners.

Suffolk County sheriff creates database for missing pets, hopes it will become a national model

"This is another valuable tool that can assist pet owners when locating a lost pet. We commend Sheriff Toulon for creating this worthwhile program and look forward to its success," Angie Carpenter, an Islip Supervisor, added.

Toulon hopes the regional initiative can expand and serve as a nationwide model for helping beloved pets reunite with their families.

For now, Suffolk pet owners can register their animals by filling out a form with a clear photo of their pet. Enrollees can pick up their physical IDs at the Sheriff's Civil Enforcement Bureau.