Pet Detectives, Its a Fur Cop, Consider OneKeith
If your pet goes missing, who ya gonna call? The Pet Detectives
Another day and one more distressed pet owner is on the phone to Tom Watkins, founder of Animal Search UK. It’s been 7 days now since the caller last saw her cat called Frankie. Although she has put up posters, which a lot of people do, about him on neighbourhood lampposts, she’s heard nothing and is sick with worry.
Has Frankie been nicked? Has he been knocked down on the road? Is he wandering around totally lost, or living it up with an indulgent new owner who is pampering him something rotten.
As always in these cases – and there are a dozen new ones every day – former police officer Watkins has to strike a balance between over-gloomy pessimism and over-sunny optimism. “If a motorist runs over your pet, he’ll usually feel too guilty to ring you direct,” he explains to the upset caller. “It’s the same if your pet has been stolen – if someone knows who has got it, he’s more likely to pass on the information via a third party than to you.”
This is where Animal Search UK comes into its own. Whereas most pet owners put up a few fuzzy photocopied “Missing” posters in their street, Watkins and team produce hundreds, sometimes thousands of colour posters, featuring three key elements: a photograph of the animal, a 24-hour freephone number and, in most cases, notification of a reward, usually between £50 and £200.
“In the event of an animal going missing, a lot of pet insurance companies now offer to pay a reward as part of the policy,” says Watkins. “They’ll probably cover the cost of our posters, too.”
The term “pet detective” brings up images of Jim Carrey’s Hollywood movies, Ace Ventura, and in recent years it has become fashionable for film stars and other celebrities to be seen out in public with their pets. Charlize Theron, for example, has a cocker spaniel, Jake Gyllenhaal a German shepherd and Paris Hilton a chihuahua.
Sometimes the team leave a cat trap in a garden where the missing pet has been seen. “We put food in the trap for a few nights running and, if it disappears, we prime the door mechanism so that the next time a cat enters, it gets locked in,” says Watkins. “You then cross your fingers and hope its your pet.”
Have a look around the internet if your pet goes missing and see if there are any pet detectives that could help you.