What is a Pet Amber Alert?
Pet Amber Alert companies offer one or more of the following services:
- Automated phone messages to people that live in the area where your pet went missing.
- A flyer faxed and/or emailed to local vets, shelters and animal related businesses.
- Boosted Facebook posts. These appear as sponsored posts on the Facebook timelines of people that live in the area where your pet went missing. This may be a 1 to 10 mile radius depending on the area lost and/or company used.
- Other social media ads such as Twitter or Instagram.
- Paid Google Ads. These appear as ads on webpages visited by people that live in the area where your pet went missing.
- Postcards mailed to people living in the area where your pet went missing.
IMPORTANT - Please Read!
Pet Amber Alert services DO NOT replace the need for other (often more effective) search tactics. Many claim high success rates, but these do not necessarily mean that pets were found using their services.
If you can easily afford it, a phone or online amber alert can be a great extra resource to get the word out about your lost pet quickly. BUT it is NOT a replacement for posters, flyers and other local advertising.
Using a pet amber alert service is also NOT a replacement for visiting and calling local shelters, rescues or veterinarians. I always recommend going in person or talking to someone so you can be sure that your lost pet report was received and shared.
If you use any amber alert or lost pet database, be sure to add them to your “safe sender” list and/or check your spam folder periodically. If people attempt to reach you, this important email could end up in your spam folder and never be seen!
Better yet, make sure that people responding to your ad can reach you via phone and not just through the online service. If you don't want to share your personal number, get a free Google Voice number instead. Learn how here.
Lost Pet Research participates in affiliate referral programs including Amazon Associates. I only endorse products and services that I have personally used, thoroughly researched, or come recommended by trusted peers. If you purchase anything via an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Learn more here.
Phone Call and Online Pet Amber Alert Companies
There are LOTS of online sites providing pet amber alert services these days. These are some of my favorites.
These are the same company and share a lost pet database. You can submit a FREE lost pet report to their database and they will email or fax a lost pet flyer to at least the closest 25 shelters, vets, rescues groups and other animal related businesses. After you submit your listing, you can login and view a list of where your flyer was sent.
You can upgrade your listing for a small fee such as an extended listing or adding your phone number or a reward amount. These add-ons come with a 30 day money back guarantee if your pet is not found. Phone call services are an additional fee and are non-refundable.
For more information on how their services work, check out their Frequently Asked Questions (located at the bottom of their site). I definitely recommend using their free alert service, but I'm not yet sure of the effectiveness of phone call alerts in general.
If you are interested in a phone call alert service, this company is cheaper than Find Toto. Phone call services are most effective for lost pets that are easily visible such as a friendly lost dog or cat.
If you are going to use a paid service, FindToto.com provides phone call alerts, boosted Facebook posts and sponsored Google Ads all within the alert package. According to their website, phone call alerts go to both mobile and home phones.
The boosted Facebook post appears as a sponsored post on the timeline of people living within the area where your pet went missing. The radius may be from one to 10 miles depending on the density of households. The Google Ad appears on webpages visited by people who live in the area where your pet went missing. They also provide Twitter and Instagram ads.
A completely free service. The NoKillNetwork.org will send automatic alerts to local shelters, rescues, veterinarians and other pet organizations. I would suggest posting to this site and LostMyDoggie or LostMyKitty, but don't post to them at the same time.
Cat-finder.com will create a boosted Facebook post that shows up on the Facebook timelines of people that live in the area where your cat went missing. This one is better than a lot of other programs because you can set the search area starting as small as 1/2 mile.
Boost Your Own Facebook Post
If you are at all tech savvy, you may want to create your own boosted Facebook post to advertise your missing pet. This will usually cost less than any pet amber alert company. If you create a Facebook page to advertise your pet, then people that see your post may also LIKE your page. This way you can continue to advertise to these people for free and provide updates and keep them engaged in your search.
You can learn how to Boost a Facebook Post for a Lost Pet here.
Lost Pet Postcard Companies
Lost pet postcards are a good option if:
- Posters are not allowed in your town/city
- You are unable to go door-to-door to distribute flyers
- Your cat has been missing for more than a month and you've tried everything else
The cost for lost pet postcards is around $0.55 to $1 per card with a minimum purchase of 500 to 1,000 cards.
LostPetCards.com exclusively offers lost pet postcards. From my experience these are delivered very quickly.
This online database (formerly Pet Harbor) offers lost pet postcards. If you submit a lost pet listing, you will have the option to purchase postcards. They also send email notifications for found pets. Unfortunately, few shelters/rescues are in their database.
Companies to Avoid
These companies are not scams but seem to have a lot of complaints. I would at least check their current Better Business Bureau listing before using them.
- PawBoost - BBB Listing. This is a popular company so a free listing may still be worth doing. However, I don't generally recommend their paid listings.
- Pet Amber Alert - BBB Listing. This company has a lot of customer complaints.
If paying for online advertising, make sure that the company is focusing on an area that makes sense. Some companies like PawBoost and Tabby Tracker may use a 10-mile radius. This makes sense for a lost dog in a rural area, but would be a poor choice for most escaped indoor-only cats.
10 thoughts on “Amber Alerts”
For years I would have put PetAmberAlert at the top of the scam list.
Today… it is a different story. PAA gets the job done… but that was not always the case.
PetAmberAlert.com has 19 complaints (out of 10,000+ customers) with the BBB, all closed in the customers favor.
We process over 500 alerts per month and offer two kinds of services!
Findtoto only offers phone alerts, and on average they do about 100-150 alerts per month.
With our kind of volume, sometimes mistakes happen and if they do we always close the case in the customers favor.
I would beg to differ with Mr. Mark Jakubczak’s reply. I tried to cancel my service with this company only to find the log information they gave me wouldn’t allow me access to cancel. When I emailed, four days prior to their deadline to “extend their service’ (subscription as they call it) and left a phone message I was ignored and then billed four days later. To this day no one will return my phone calls and when I threatened to contact the local authorities I finally received a curt email saying they do not accept email or phone cancelations. Further, their $100 money back guarantee is cleverly worded to only include add-on’s, making it highly suspect. In and on-line chat I was also denied this refund as the ‘refund link’ was never on the website. When I brought this to their attention the chat was conveniently closed. An answering service always answers, but you never get to speak to the owner or anyone affiliated with the company. I should’ve demanded my money back from the beginning when it took them three days to make any calls or send out posters. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but now think if I hadn’t called to confirm they were doing something, they may not have done anything. To this day I’ve only had one company tell me they received a faxed poster and only one of my neighbors say they got a call from them. How sad that they are taking advantage of people already in distress over a lost pet. Incidentally, when I asked the ‘receptionist’ for the name of the owner, she gave me ROBERT Jakubczak. Interesting he is using two different names. I would not recommend them on your site.
How did Pet Amber Alert gain permission from the U.S. Department of Justice, and the national Center for Exploited Children to use the name “Amber Alert?” Is this legal? If so, doesn’t it create confusion? The pet-finding company claims to share “the same technology” as Amber Alerts for missing kids. How is that possible? How do they make phone contact with people located within some circular radius? They charge more as the radius gets bigger. Why do they have an F rating with the New York and Los Angeles branches of the Better Business Bureau? Didn’t a wealthy internet entrepreneur start this company, after buying up lots of domain names and creating false Pet Blogs and Vet Advice websites which are just extensions of the company’s advertising? They look unrelated at first, but are the same thing. Notice how Search Rngine Optimization seems to be used by this group to trick Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. to give Search Results that are unnaturally stacked with a long list if bogus articles and blogs — all leading straight back to Pet Amber Alert? Are Fidofind and FindToto different names for the exact same operation? Seems there is much, much more to this story. A good place to start is the website called PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com, a wry bu serious site started by a well-known reporter and occasional comedienne? This isn’t what it seems to be.
Hey I work for GetMyCat.com and we offer a Pet Amber Alert and Lost Cat Postcards. You should check it out and see if you would like to post our services up on your site as well! Thanks!
For those who are interested, FindToto.com has an A rating with the BBB (http://www.bbb.org/greater-san-francisco/business-reviews/animal-registration-and-identification/pet-alert-in-oakley-ca-305200#bbblogo), and Lost My Doggie has an A- rating (http://www.la.bbb.org/business-reviews/Business-Services/LostMyDoggieCom-LLC-in-Irvine-CA-100102339). I checked a few months ago and Amber Pet Alert was down to a C rating. Currently it is not rated because they are addressing some previously closed complaints.
BBB is not an accurate way to judge a business. Most companies pay them for higher ratings.
Just check online:
As of February 12, complaints about Pet Amber Alert had earned the company an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau in Los Angeles. The BBB in New York also showed numerous complaints and noted the company failed to respond to requests for substantiation of the company’s pet finding claims.
I made several attempts to contact Pet Amber Alert for this report, but could never get to a human on the phone, or an option to leave a voice mail message. The link to contact them through email did not respond.
From: KOMO-TV News, Feb. 13, 13
I just used petamberalert.com for my missing dogs. I entered the request for their services (& PAID for them) at 6:30am PST on Monday 2/3/14. I didn’t receive anything back from them until 11:18am PST, almost 5 hours later. If they are truly in the pet finding business, they should know that time is of the essence. I tried calling their number repeatedly on 2/3 and received a message “this number is temporarily out of service”. I figured I’d been scammed but had other things to focus on (finding my dogs!) so I made my own fliers and set out alone. Even after their email at 11:18am stating they had notified pet agencies within a 25mi radius, I still brought my own flier around because I did not trust them. None of the vets that I stopped off at were notified by Pet Amber Alert. No neighbors that I spoke to were called by them. I found my dogs on my own. I’ve called and left them a message, I updated my pet’s status as being found both via phone AND online, however they are still listed on the website. I can’t get anyone to return my calls and I do truly feel that I’ve been scammed. If I don’t hear back from them soon, I’ll be going through my credit card company to have the charges reversed. Thank you!
I have initiated a Facebook Page to allow consumers to share their experiences with PetAmberAlert.com. It’s only meant to share the facts of each person’s experience in an attempt to make sure that the less fortunate are not taken advantage of in their time of stress, panic and grief. Please check it out at https://www.facebook.com/avoidpetamberalert?skip_nax_wizard=true, or search petamberalertisascam on Facebook. Thank you!
Comments are closed.