I own three Weimaraners. A couple of years ago we became members of Missing Pets Bureau who I am sure you are aware have gone into liquidation this year. Two of our dogs were 'paid up' for life and the youngest was about three months away from being a lifetime member.
We joined Missing Pets Bureau because they offered a great service if our dogs were lost or stolen, keeping a DNA profile of all our dogs, helping in the advertising whether it be on TV, radio, papers etc and if our dogs were found injured we had given them authority to get them medical attention immediately whilst we were on our way to get them (Pet Back Med Alert).
We have now been contacted by Consumer Savings Bureau advising us that for one year free of charge they have taken over the database of Missing Pets Bureau and will offer a reunification cover only.
I would be grateful if anyone could advise us regarding the above as although I have written to Consumer Savings Bureau I am not satisfied that they can provide us with the level of service Missing Pets Bureau did. Is there another company that can offer a great service for the peace of mind that we require should anything happen to our pets?
Susan Hipperson, Managing Director, Pets Bureau says...
I too care passionality about pets (having four of my own) and when I heard that Missing Pets Bureau was in difficulty, I wanted to help - hence the Pets Bureau service was formed in association with Consumer Savings Bureau.
It has however been an enormous task and we immediately reintroduced the reunification service revovling around the unique Pet ID Tag and the microchip and we are looking at how other parts of the service could be reintroduced over the coming months.
The Consumer Savings Bureau was formed due to a "crying out" need for people to save money and all old members are being givin the opportunity to optionally join this service free of charge which will also incoporate their Pets Bureau membership. All the owners need to pay for is if they require new or replacement ID Tags and they may register up to five pets free of charge!
We would ask all old MPB members to bear with us and we will be opening more services over the next few months to meet customer demand.
Should any Dogs Today readers or old members like to take advantage of this free service they may register online by going to www.petsbureau.co.uk. Should anyone have any questions after having looked at this website, please then contact me by emailing me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be pleased to assist.
Following the liquidation of the Missing Pets Bureau (MPB) we at Doglost have received countless calls from concerned dog owners who have paid for life time protection and have effectively been left in the lurch. Especially upset are those owners who chose various pet insurance policies who offered the 12 months free membership of MPB as an incentive to sign up with them. The various pet insurance companies are now refusing to take any responsibility for including the MPB in their 'package'. What happened to underwriting?
To address your concerns on DNA profiling, having helped to reunite nearly 10,000 dogs with their owners, we at Doglost (a free service) question with a capital Q the effectiveness of DNA testing when local authorities and rescues are struggling to have funding for scanners.....how can they possibly afford to DNA test?
The best form of identifying dogs are the microchip, ear tattoes and the good old fashioned collar and tag. By law this should have the contact details of the owner and not a third party, unless as an extra disc to owners' contact disc. But if someone finds your dog they are more likely to contact you directly rather then phone an automated call centre, so to sum up from our experience this and similar schemes are a very expensive way of buying a dog tag - who in their right mind would pay up to £199 for a dog tag?
Having had so many concerned dog owners ring we will be shortly announcing our pet registration scheme, where details and photos of people's dogs can be stored on our site in advance as people cannot always function well when their pets are missing, we can then email the details out to all dog related organisations in the area as well as all dog owners registered with us within 30 miles and automatically email owners a poster that can be printed off. In our experience POSTERS work!
Keepsafe recommends microchipping as proof of ownership, and it is a legal requirement if you want to take your pet abroad. But did you know that 9 out of 10 pets are found by the public. We know too that the public don’t have a scanner and they don’t know where to find one. The dog warden or a local vet may have one, but the public don’t often know who or where the local vet is or indeed the dog warden’s telephone number, and they don’t want to spend the time to find out. Finders are of course going about their own activities and whilst they are happy to help a pet be re-united with its owner, they want to be on their way very quickly. Getting a pet scanned and reunited by a vet or dog warden can be very expensive because there is a fee to pay before getting your pet back; this could be up to £75 – a cost that could easily be avoided.
Our experience over the past 10 years tells us that there is no better way of ensuring that a pet is re-united other than by having a tag with a phone number to ring. Pets don’t often stray very far from their homes so a Keepsafe tag will ensure that your pet comes back home as soon as possible, without the trauma of spending time at a rescue centre or wardens van. An even more valuable service is the Keepsafe VetAlert service, which provides emergency veterinary treatment if a pet is found injured while straying and reported by a vet as needing emergency veterinary treatment, Keepsafe will pay up to £500 directly to the vet.
We are very proud of the service we offer. We are open 24 hours a day and all our staff are based in modern air-conditioned offices just on the outskirts of Cambridge. Each call is handled by a member of our staff, not an automated text message service. Many of our call handlers have been with the company for many years, and have pets themselves so the calls are handled with great compassion and understanding.
The owner of Keepsafe, Judy Fella, was for 14 years personal assistant to the disabled Cambridge scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, and besides managing a 24 x 7 rota of nurses and the admin for someone so disabled, she understands only too well how to deal with stressful situations and much more, including how precious pets are.
As well as looking after Keepsafe’s 1,400,000 customers, the company also handles all the out of hours calls for veterinary surgeons from Cornwall to the Outer Hebrides. This also means that we often know who and where a veterinary surgery might be in a particular part of the country.
We don’t currently offer DNA testing because from our experience we felt that it simply wasn’t worth the investment, because in 10 years and with over 1,000,000 owners there has never been a need for such a service. In very rare cases where a pet has been stolen, the DNA testing has not been needed. BUT we would love to hear from you as to whether or not you think it would be a good idea. If enough of you respond we will quickly look into the viability of such a service.
We can be contacted on 0870 60 500 60 at any time, so if you have any questions please give us a call. Our Lost and Found Cover only costs £49.95 for the Lifetime of your pet. With the average life of a dog being about 7-8 years and cats much longer, this is terrific value for money. We even have a parrot who is covered with us!!!!