Owners use GPS to track pets

2011-11-24 15:15
Los Angeles - Houdini the dog lived up to his name.

The lab-shepherd mix, known as a crafty escape artist, was placed in a foster home by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Despite his new owner's best efforts to keep him close, the dog pushed an air conditioner out of a window and made his getaway.

Fortunately, the staff at Best Friends anticipated Houdini's wandering ways and had outfitted his collar with a GPS tracking device. The device worked as promised, and Best Friends adoption manager Kristi Littrell found the errant dog in an overgrown lot in Kanab.

About half of the pets that enter animal shelters each year are strays or lost animals, but the growing use of GPS technology may offer owners a new option for trying to track down roaming cats, missing dogs and other runaway pets.

Several GPS devices are now being marketed that attach to collars and can be monitored by handsets, cellphones or computers with relative ease. Kristi Littrell, adoption manager at Best Friends, said Houdini was "the same colour as the weeds" in the lot where she found him.

Location

"I would never have found him without the GPS device on his collar," she added. Best Friends is still hoping to find a home for Houdini, and plans to give the GPS device to the new owners to help make sure that if he ever does get out again, he'll be easily tracked down.

"It's great these devices are available to us now," Littrell said. "They will undoubtedly help in a lot of cases where pets would otherwise not be found and returned home."

Best Friends uses a device called Loc8tor to keep track of Houdini. A handset picks up a signal from a tag attached to the pet's collar and indicates which way to go to locate the tag. It's designed to work within a range of 122m, though obstacles like walls and floors can reduce the range.

Another GPS tracking device designed for pets is Tagg The Pet Tracker. Its fans include Jessica Vogelsang, a San Diego veterinarian who received a free Tagg for review on her blog, Dr V at Pawcurious.com.

"I've tried out a few GPS trackers but the Tagg is the only one I liked enough to recommend," she said.

"I've been testing it for about a month now and I've been getting accurate locations with it consistently. What I find really innovative about it, however, is how well they've integrated mobile technology so you can track your pet in real time not only on the site but with your phone, using the app or even text messaging."

To use Tagg, you need a home computer and a cellphone. You program your pet's safety zone - it can be as small as your house or as big as your neighbourhood. If it leaves that space, you will get an e-mail or SMS (your choice) telling you the animal's gone and where it is. If it's on the move, you can track its movements.

Complaints

"I never would have dreamed in my lifetime that there would come a day when I would get a text message for help from my pet," said Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Centre in Rancho Santa Fe, California, who uses Tagg with his puppy Anchovy.

GPS devices could theoretically help people locate missing pets in all kinds of situations where animals are vulnerable to getting lost, such as when pets are shipped by plane or after natural disasters, assuming that owners have access to the electronics they need to track signals and that the devices remain charged.

There are several GPS tracking devices on the market, and while many consumers rave about the technology, complaints tend to fall into several categories.

Some say batteries in the devices do not always hold a charge for as long as promised; that digital maps associated with the devices are not always easy to read or use; and that the devices do not always cover the range of distance that pet owners expected.

The Tagg Master Kit costs $100 and comes with a battery charger and a month of wireless service; service is $8 a month after that. A basic Loc8tor Pet kit costs $100.
- AP
Read more on:    animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.