PetFinder.com. Designed for shelters, just not this one.
PetFinder.com is an online database of adoptable pets in the care of about 13,000 animal welfare organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. At this time, Petfinder is responsible for finding homes for approximately 2.5 million pets each year.
Trying to get Columbus Animal Control to start a PetFinder page has been proving an impossible task. I won’t go down the list of excuses they made, but the best one was that they just couldn’t understand it (in other words, “we just aren’t smart enough“). I don’t know WHY they refused to start a PetFinder account, despite having people volunteering their time to keep it updated, but they did. They wouldn’t do it, and they didn’t want us do it.
Finally, since we kept badgering them, an employee (most likely in frustration) told us to go ahead and do it, so an account was finally started by a third party. A volunteer that had been donating her time and efforts keeping it updated, and it had been proving to work! She was getting inquiries about Columbus pets, and the animals were getting exposure on the largest online adoption search engines, while the city itself was not providing any. Then this happened…
“I was contacted this morning by Drale Short. I will no longer be doing petfinder for Columbus Georgia Animal Control. She had told me previously she was going to get me written approval at her meeting to do the petfinder, but now she said she was correct and that an individual cannot run a website for a private government without permission. She is shutting down my account at petfinder. I am upset about this as I have enjoyed doing it and also I think it has greatly helped the adoptions. In fact, I found out yesterday the adoption of the Jack Russell this week was due to petfinder.”
There’s no arguing that PetFinder could be much more effective if updated from Columbus Animal Control, which is why we had been asking for MONTHS for them to activate an account themselves. They wouldn’t do it, so we did, and it works.
Why didn’t Animal Control like PetFinder being used? Was it because they were getting flooded with calls about animals that had been either dead or gone? Or because the animals were given names on PetFinder (a luxory denied by the staff at AC) and this caused confusion with potential adopters over the phone?
According to the volunteer that was updating the PetFinder account, “I did give them names but I also listed their tag numbers right beside them”. “Also if it was such a headache for people calling in about Susie could they not say ‘Do you know what tag number Susie is?’ and that would take care of the problem, would it not?”
Was it because of the urgency expressed on the PetFinder posts made AC look bad by telling people that these animals will be killed? “Drale had already made me remove my post about the pets being URGENT and being put down if not adopted the first week I did petfinder. She said ‘That’s not always true.’ and asked me to take everything about the ‘killing’ off the page except for I could leave the Please save me part in the ad.”
When the Mayor was asked about PetFinder, she responded that the city does list pets on PetFinder, but does not allow 3rd parties control of that process. But when asked why the volunteer-run PetFinder account was shut down, Drale Short stated, “As we continue to grow, on-line, I am sure we will eventually open a Petfinder Account and we will have the resources available to manage this account.”
The resources are here, and we’re already managing the account. What sort of crazy backwards city do we live in?
Fact is, there is NO reason for them to dicontinue something that was obviously helping save animals. Even IF they were planning on starting the new PetFinder page, why would they make us discontinue one of the ONLY things that was helping to get them out alive? If it were causing problems, why wouldn’t they just provide us with the information that they wanted, to help make the page as effective as possible?
This was just posted to their facebook page, “Just so everyone knows… PETFINDER was not done away with, It was not deleted, Our Chief is working directly with Petfinder to be able to have realtime postings of our animals, linking them directly to our website! So again, Petfinder was not done away with!”
The PetFinder.com account was canceled November 3rd. I will be counting the days before AC PetFinder launches, and that’s how many days of exposure they are taking away from these animals. As a result, some of these dogs and cats that could have gotten out alive, will not. There’s no reason to discontinue the current account until another is up and running. They are killing our animals.
The dogs below are all URGENT, and subject to being killed immediately, if they’re even still alive. We have beautiful photos, and notes about their temperament… but nowhere to show people. From left to right: Female tan pit X is Tag #240. Male black terrier X is Tag #216, Male white/brindle American Bulldog X Tag #67, and Lab/Shepherd X Tag #292. If you’re interested in bringing any of these dogs into your home, please call Animal Control asap at 706-653-4512 or go to the shelter to get meet them!
We can’t continue to stand for this. Contact your City Councilmembers, they can be found (along with phone numbers and e-mails) right here.
This story is continued, at The fight for PetFinder continues into National Animal Shelter Reform Week