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Susanne Kogut: How national lost pet database works, why join

Guest: Susanne Kogut is president of the Petco Foundation. She started out in corporate law before her passion for animals led her to become executive director of the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. She is also vice-chair of the board of trustees for HABRI, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute.


Main question: How does Petco Foundation's new lost-and-found-pets initiative work, and why should shelter organizations participate?


  • 1 in 3 pets will be lost during their lifetimes, about 10 million each year.

  • Because supporting the human-animal bond is a fundamental part of our missions, getting them back home should be a priority for animal welfare organizations.

  • Petco Foundation is creating a national database and leveraging pet facial recognition technology so that there is one central place to seek help with a lost or found pet, making a successful outcome more likely. Dogs and cats are included.

  • It’s free to sign up and connects with many existing shelter management software platforms.

  • Grant opportunities are available to encourage groups to sign up so that their animals are included in the database. Additional grants are available to help organizations get animal management software if they don’t already. See for details.

  • “Stray” can have negative connotations so consider using “lost” or “missing” to describe pets who are found or picked up.

  • And lastly, it’s important not to make assumptions about pets who come to your organization looking rough. Such pets very well may come from loving families but being out in the elements or underlying health issues may give a false appearance of neglect.

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Recorded February 16, 2021

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