Students launch Web site to help find lost pets

November 14, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

You know that passage in "Amazing Grace" that goes "I once was lost, but now am found?" Well, if animals could sing, that might become their theme song if a new project at Jennie Rogers Elementary proves successful.

Kids in the Student Technology Leadership Program at the school have launched a Web site dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their owners. The idea is to help owners post pictures and descriptions of their lost animals on the Internet as well as provide a place for people who have found wayward pets to get the news out.

"If somebody has an animal they can't find, they can go to our Web site and maybe it will be there," explained fifth-grader Zaid Siddiqui.

The project got started about three weeks ago when Sallie Bright of the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society spoke to the STLP students about responsible pet ownership. The subject of lost pets came up and the students learned that many of the lost animals that end up at the shelter have to be euthanized, which was unsettling to some of the kids who had lost pets of their own.


"It doesn't make me feel good, but if they can't find the owners, they have to do what they have to do," said third-grader Abby Sallee, who said her family once found a beagle and turned it over to the Humane Society but never learned if the animal made it back home.

STLP sponsor Diane Culbertson, a curriculum technology resource teacher at Jennie Rogers, suggested that the STLP group create the lost and found Web site as a community service project. The students presented their project, dubbed "Technology Helps Pets Find their Way Home," Thursday at a regional STLP competition at the University of Kentucky. Results haven't been released yet, but if the group did well Thursday, it will move on to the state finals in Louisville next March.

The students are still waiting to post their first lost or found pet online.

"We have no lost and found pets because we haven't had any publicity yet," Culbertson said. "We are hoping an article in the paper will get us started."

The Web address

People who have lost pets, or found them, can e-mail information to or pick up a brochure at Jennie Rogers. The Web address is, which can also be linked through the Humane Society site,

Fourth-grader Raven Anderson, who has a cat, said she figures about 50 percent of the pets out there go missing at some time in their lives, so the Web site could provide a valuable service to their owners, those who discover a strange animal hanging around their door, and the animal shelter. Dan Turcea of the Humane Society agrees.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," Turcea said. "We see animals all the time who obviously have been well taken care of, but we don't have any way of getting them back to their homes. Every time we free up a kennel, it's a help."

Fourth-grader Calvin Steber said the group holds no illusions that its Web site can help all the lost pets out there find their way home. Having it work just once would be a big reward, he said.

"If we can find at least one lost pet and return it to the owner, that's what we're hoping for," Calvin said.

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