“I started putting pictures of the animals I picked up and took to the shelter online in an extended effort to try to reunite animals with their owners,” said Rose Ogden, the Pell City Police Department animal control officer.
Ogden said in December, she began posting pictures on the department’s Facebook page of animals she picks up in Pell City or Riverside and takes to the Animal Shelter of Pell City Inc.
“Some shelters have programs where all incoming animals are photographed as part of the intake process,” she said. “Because we don’t have that available to us, I decided I could take photographs of every animal I bring in and post them online so owners of missing animals could go to our Facebook page and check.”
Ogden said individuals scan look up the department’s Facebook page, go to photos and click on the stray animals album.
“The album has a picture of the animal with the date it was picked up and the area the animal was found,” she said. “It also says that the animal is at the ASPCI and their phone number 205-814-1567.”
Ogden said the ASPCI holds stray animals for seven days, but the pictures stay on the Facebook page for one month.
“We have had a lot of positive comments and have reunited animals with their owners as a direct result of the photographs,” she said. “Recently, a lady who lived in the county and didn’t know about the Facebook page—a friend told her about it and she was able to get her dog back.”
Ogden said the Facebook page also has an “Owners Photo of Lost Pet” album and a folder of pictures of pets found by citizens who are trying to locate the owner of that lost pet.
“I check the site daily and as often as possible on weekends and on my days off,” she said.
Ogden said owners of lost pets should check the site frequently.
“The stray animals folder only has pictures of animals I pick up,” she said. “The county doesn’t offer this service. But individuals living near Pell City and Riverside should still check the page in case their lost animal roamed and was picked up here.”
Ogden said although the photographs are a helpful tool to reunite owners with their lost pets, the animals still need identification.
“Because animals can’t tell me where they live, identification is incredibly important,” she said.
Ogden said microchipping and visible ID (such as a collar with rabies tag) are both important incase the animal somehow loses its tag.
“If I am able to contact the owner prior to taking the animal to the shelter, I can make arrangements for the owner to reclaim their pet without having to go to the shelter,” she said.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.