Finding pets a new home

'Reporter: Georgia Main

The bond between humans and animals is very powerful so when the family pet goes missing, owners will stop at nothing to get them back.Ashleigh Phillips and mother Katrina are still amazed their cat was found in North Queensland, nearly 4000km from his Tasmanian home.Clyde the cat has become a celebrity after three years on the run."We door-knocked, put posters up in shops but no-one knew," they said."He vanished."While an observant vet checked Clyde's microchip to identify him there were no clues on how the Himalayan got there.

A microchip also helped solve the nine-year mystery of Muffy, the scruffy dog disappeared from her Gold Coast home in 1999.The RSPCA's Gail Coulter said Muffy turned up 2000km away in Melbourne."She was found sleeping on a piece of cardboard in a really cold shed with severe skin allergies," Gail said.

When Shirley Lowry's beloved poodle Rusty was dog-napped in Sydney she ran newspaper and radio advertisements, desperate to find him. When, four months later, rangers 3000km away in Darwin told her Rusty had been found. Pet detective Lee Jefferies tracks down lost pets each year."With dogs and cats our success rate is around about 85-90 per cent and with birds it's around 40 per cent," Lee said.

"The percentage of stolen pets has increased, you can pick up traces of hair, feathers as well with birds and you can often see the direction they have run to."Last year less than 3000 of the 69,000 lost cats were reunited with their families.Around one-third of the 70,000 dogs that went missing were found.But for animal welfare pioneer Mike Arms it is the 200,000 abandoned pets put down each year that is concerning. "I've heard of pets before that a family relinquished in California and so a family came and adopted it with the little boy and saved that pet's life," he said. "Two weeks later that boy was about to be bitten by a rattle snake, the dog knocked him out of the way and took the bite for him as if to say 'if you save my life, I'm going to give you your life'."

Mike has saved more animals than anyone in history and he has come to Australia to save even more. "Last year we adopted out 1.2 million animals," he said."I don't think there was any greater reward than the facilities calling us up and telling us it's the first time in history they didn't have to take the life of an orphaned animal."

Australia is taking part in the largest pet adoption drive in history. The goal is to re-house 1.5 million orphaned pets.

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