HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Gone are the days of posting pictures of lost pets around your community. It’s likely people are looking down at their phones and won't ever see them!
In an effort to help reconnect lost pets with their owners, one group of ladies is changing the way lost pets are found in Huntsville by tapping into people's need to be on their phones, one post at a time.
The Facebook page Lost and Found Pets Huntsville was created in 2014 with only about 500 followers.
“I didn't ever think it would go this far,” said page founder Jeananne Jackson.
The page has nearly 10,000 followers and they have successfully reunited more than 2,900 families with their four-legged babies.Today, four dedicated women run the page.
"We had dogs reunited after a year," said page administrator Linda Huggins. “One cat went home after a house fire nearly five years later.”
The team uses social media as a liaison between those who find strays and desperate pet owners who have lost their loved ones. People share pictures and descriptions of their pets and the locations where animals were last seen.
"This is one of the greatest tools we have ever had is social media," said Huggins.
People post a missing pet or a stray found, then people share until they are hopefully reunited. Linda Huggins archives each case -- found and reunited, adopted, rescued or deceased. They tap into this information when pets reappear missing or if someone inquires about a missing pet from months, or even years prior.
"We have the owner’s information on file and we recognize the animal," shared Huggins.
The page has strict rules. Before you can join the group, the page administrators do their homework on you. To join, you must live in the Madison County area or nearby. Also, it must be evident that you have no criminal past of animal abuse or neglect.
"We also allow posting from the Shoals because when we have tornadoes, we have actually found animals here in Madison County," shared Huggins.
Once you are in, posts are strictly monitored to ensure only relevant information is being posted and shared.
It's a site that's invaluable to those it's helped, and it's a calling for those running it.
"It's another full-time job," said Jackson. “But we do it because we want to, and the feeling you get when you help people. It’s a blessing to serve people and help people be reunited with their children."
The page also works closely with pet owners who lose their loved ones. The page also identifies animal abuse cases and the admins of the page alert the proper authorities to investigate and take action.
This group is working with other areas of north Alabama to set up their own page and teach communities how to run the site.
Jeananne Jackson says the smaller the area concentration the higher success rate of reuniting pets.