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Maricopa County releases tool to find lost pets

Dogs at a Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter are shown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Animal Care and Control has introduced a new service that may help owners locate lost pets: An interactive mapping tool.

"You type in your info, and the map will pop up," said Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Spokeswoman Melissa Gable. "It will have a series of dots, which represent dogs, and a series of triangles, which represent cats."

You top in either an exact address or the major cross streets in the area where you think your pet was lost. A little window will pop up with a picture of a pet that was recovered in the area, along with a description of the animal and the date that it was brought to the shelter.

The tool went online Tuesday. However, Gable said one man was reunited with his two dogs while the system was in the testing stage. When the man showed up at the shelter Saturday saying he had lost his pit bull and a husky near the intersection of 67th Avenue and Indian School, she decided to test the system. Once they typed the information on the website, a picture of one of the dogs popped up on the website. Gable and the man went back to the kennel and found both dogs.

Gable said the dogs "went ballistic" with joy when they saw their owner.

The county believes the tool is the first of its kind to be introduced.

To explore the mapping tool, click here.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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