Pet FBI’s Mission: To Reunite Owners With Lost Animals

Pet FBI's Mission: To Reunite Owners With Lost Animals (Image 1)

 The family pet is a loyal friend. But sometimes, under stressful conditions, an animal can run away.

This is exactly what happened in April to Nancy Travis of Dublin, when she left Leonardo De Catrio in the care of her husband.

“I was gone for a week. I was in Naples, Florida and left all four cats with Mike,” she said.

“Leo goes out during the day, but not at night. And Mike let him out at night.”

With Leo lost, Nancy turned to social media for help.

“Someone said to contact Pet FBI,” she said. “So I got on Facebook and did. They responded right away and gave us tips how to find him.”

Nancy can thank Maresa Fanelli, a retired French professor, cat lover, and founder of Pet FBI.

“One of the great traumas of my childhood is losing my parakeet,” she said. “I mean, I had a pretty (good) childhood, but that stands out as the traumatic experience.”

Fanelli turned that trauma into her online lost pet database in 1998.

For years, she focused on Columbus pets. Now, Pet FBI serves owners in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But it is social media (Facebook and Twitter) and a group of eager volunteers that are making the biggest difference.

 “They will go to Cragslist, they’ll go to other Facebook pages, they will go to newspaper ads,” Fanelli said. “They sign up for alerts from other sites and they look for matches.”

Each share and retweet gets these furry faces before more people, and home quicker.

“Sometimes it’s almost instantaneous,” Fanelli said. “We’ve had matches within 24 hours, or even a few hours.”

Nancy Travis credits Pet FBI and its followers for bringing her Leo home after just two days.

“Maybe he would’ve come home,” she said. “But I don’t think he would’ve as soon as he did.”

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