Area animal welfare organization posts pets online

Winnebago County Animal Services has joined, a searchable database that showcases homeless pets worldwide via the Web. Its pets can be viewed at

Each of the more than 500 shelters on the Web site has its own homepage, and each of its pets has its own page, which features a description and usually a photo. Potential adopters can also search by type of pet, breed, size, age and gender. Pets that match the search criteria are ranked in proximity to the visitor’s Zip code.

Betsy and Jared Saul created Petfinder in 1996 as a New Year’s resolution to do something for homeless pets. The Web site has revolutionized the way homeless pets are showcased, and it facilitated more than a million adoptions in 2002 alone.

“For many people, doing their initial search for a pet online relieves the stress of visiting a shelter,” Saul says, “and a more informed choice can be made.” To keep pets in their new homes, gives two months of free pet insurance to every dog or cat adopted from a member in licensed states. Adopters must activate the insurance within 10 days of the adoption date. is free to potential adopters and to its members, thanks to its sponsors. Purina signed on as the Web site’s premier sponsor. Other exclusive sponsors are BISSELL Homecare, Inc., a manufacturer of home cleaning and floor care products, PETCO, a national pet supply retailer that sponsors in-store adoptions and provides coupon books for new adopters, and Merial, maker of the No. 1 veterinary-recommended flea and tick preventative FRONTLINE (R) and heartworm preventative HEARTGARD (R).

The site features an extensive library of pet-related materials, kept current by The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a partner.

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