When animals are picked up now, they are entered into the database along with a photo of the animal. Those photos and descriptions go online at Pet Harbor and Pet Finder websites. On the Pet Harbor website, an owner with a missing dog can enter the zipcode or city name and check the animals in area shelters, including Norman.
When entering a new dog into the system, Bowman and his staff can check the virtual kennel and see what space is available. Bar codes allow the city staff to match animals with the cages they are in and to easily change that on a daily basis if needed. That makes locating a lost dog or cat easier and allows for staff to see what vacancies are available for making assignments of a new animal.
When an owner calls in to report a missing pet, city staff can quickly check to see if an animal of that description has been logged into the system. Those records stay in the system for 14 days and make for easy matching.
If a pet is gone longer than 14 days, the owner can call and ask for the lost pet to remain in the system for additional time. Dogs or cats that were found and are being kept in the home of the person who found them can also be entered into the system.
“Everything in our system pushes out every hour to PetFinder and Pet Harbor,” Bowman said.
The new software also allows for records of volunteers, and can push out electronic communications such as notifications of pet renewal licenses coming due.
Records of adoptions or which animals were given to rescue groups can also be tracked through the new system. Any animal’s medical treatment and other details can also be logged and tracked. Staff now run a daily missing animal report to check against animals in custody. In the field, animals with a city pet tag or a microchip can be checked for ownership records before the animal is brought into the shelter.