Meet Scabbycat. He pitched up in our front yard last week sometime.
He’s okay, bit neglected looking — but doesn’t have plans to leave, so we’re looking after him as best we can. He can’t come to live in our house as he might have something that our cats could catch, but we’ve got him some shelter and are feeding him. The vet’s has confirmed that he’s not microchipped (so we can’t find his owner), and is reasonably healthy, but there’s nowhere for him to go for a few weeks — none of the cats homes or sanctuaries we’ve contacted have a space.
We’ve tried tweeting and blogging about him, but the chance of connecting to his owners is only improved if they are good at searching the social web.
There is, if you Google, a ‘National Missing Pets Register’ website. It’s nothing official, rather a altruistic effort by a web designer called Steve Dawson — but it has some sort of traction, and visibility is all in this instance. There aren’t a great deal of lost/found notices on there, but it’s the main site certainly.
The site notes that developments are still ongoing — search on the site would be an easy win in the sense of making the site better (no idea how easy technically), as would listing by location (the tighter the better), notifications, RSS feeds and better photo handling.
A few of these would help other people spread the information (location-based feeds especially), but there’s nothing here that harnesses the social power of the web — so I’m going to throw some ideas about, maybe there’s a service someone could build in here.
For me the problem is that the only people on the site are within the transaction — they’re the people who have either found or lost a pet (and they’re a subset of all of these even). We need something than can use the connections and serendipity of the social web to increase the chances of a reuniting.
With tighter location feeds the site could power lost/found pet widgets for local sites and blogs. That would increase the likelihood of some who can make a connection spotting the pet — but also increase the awareness of the site itself.
Is there something in game mechanics? — Possibly attempting to match descriptions or photos of lost/found animals (currently no way to really search for matches) or in some way improving the descriptions/tagging/locations of found animals.
What could be done with mobile or locations? — Is there a way that “spottings” (helpful, but not as good as a find) could be registered easily? Could you add poster information or information found on the streets but not added by the owners for whatever reason.
Direct feeds in from dog wardens, cats/dogs homes/police/vets — could a site it be useful for them too. Making it as easy as possible for the overworked needs to be given thought.
Is it ‘fixmypet’?
Can you add? Or more importantly can you build or fund?