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NATIONAL HOTLINE REUNITES LOST PETS WITH THEIR OWNERS

 NATIONAL HOTLINE REUNITES LOST PETS WITH THEIR OWNERS
 KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- People who have lost


their pet don't want to wait a day or even a few hours to be reunited. With a new 24-hour national hotline and tracking system developed by Sprint (NYSE: FON) and the American Humane Association, a reunion can be as close as the nearest telephone.
 Starting Aug. 7, the Lost/Found Pet Hotline -- the first of its kind -- will offer an 800 number for people to report found pets and a 900 number for people to report lost pets. Sprint TeleMedia Locater technology enables information from the 900 number to be cross-matched with information from the 800 number. Pet owners can use the technology -- in addition to visiting their local shelters and posting signs -- to increase the chances of finding their lost pets.
 "This is the most comprehensive pet-tracing system ever," said Dr. Jeff Werber, veterinarian and national spokesperson for The American Humane Association. "This national hotline enables pet owners, veterinarians, and animal care and control professionals to register a lost or found dog or cat at any time of the day or night without the aid of an operator -- and perhaps even immediately link the owner with the person who found the pet."
 Using their touch-tone telephones, callers to the hotline respond to a menu-driven program which allows them to provide their telephone number and location, by zip code, and a description of the animal. The description can include such attributes as type, weight, age, sex, color and tail length/shape. For example, regarding a dog's weight, the choices are 1 equals small (<20 lbs.), 2 equals medium (20-50 lbs.), and 3 equals large (>50 lbs.). The menus for both the found line and lost line are virtually identical.
 All calls are processed in Sprint TeleMedia's service bureau. As each call comes into the bureau, Sprint TeleMedia's voice processing system will automatically compare the lost animal reports with the found animal reports to determine if there is a positive match. The first three digits of the zip codes of the lost and found reports are used to localize a match. If there is a match, the system will immediately voice back the telephone number of the person reporting the found pet so that the pet owner can make contact and retrieve the animal. The status of the lost pet report can be accessed, using the 900 number, as frequently and for as long a period as two weeks, at which time the information can be resubmitted.
 In a nation with more than 53 million pet-owning households, about 9 million pets are lost each year, according to the AHA. Of these lost animals, only about 16 percent of the dogs and 2 percent of the cats are located by their owners.
 "Since people consider their pet to be an important member of their family, the loss of that pet can be very upsetting," said Adrian Toader, vice president and general manager of Sprint TeleMedia. "With Sprint TeleMedia's technology, it is possible for pet owners to locate their lost pet conveniently and cost-effectively with a single phone call."
 The 800 number, 800-755-8111, is free to the caller. The typical found pet report can be made in about four minutes. The 900 number, 900-535-1515, will cost the caller $1.95 per minute. The typical lost pet report also can be made in about four minutes. Callbacks, to check on the status of a lost-pet report, require about one minute. An identification number is used in the callbacks to provide speed and accuracy.
 Posters displaying both the 800 and 900 numbers will be distributed to more than 20,000 veterinarians and animal care and control professionals in the United States so that they can describe this service to pet owners. According to Philip Cohen Associates, which is assisting Sprint and the AHA with publicity, plans are for the 800 and 900 telephone numbers to be printed on milk cartons, grocery bags, pet food packaging and refrigerator magnets.
 "We encourage all pet owners to keep current ID tags on their pets and to call or visit the local shelters if they have lost their pet," said Dennis White, director of the American Humane Association's Animal Protection Division. "The Lost/Found Pet Hotline should be part of the traditional pet search process of posting 'lost pet' signs and calling or visiting local animal shelters. Hopefully, the national hotline program will return lost pets to their homes and free up some of the limited shelter space for animals in need of permanent homes."
 Revenues from the 900 number lost pet line will offset the cost of the 800 number found pet line. A portion of the proceeds from the Lost/Found Pet Hotline will benefit the American Humane Association.
 For more than 115 years, the American Humane Association has been devoted to animal welfare. The Animal Protection Division of the American Humane Association is a national federation of over 3,500 local, state and regional animal care and control agencies and concerned individuals working for the protection and humane treatment of animals. The animal protection division has developed the operational standards for animal shelters across the country; continually promotes animal welfare legislation to insure the humane treatment of all animals; and monitors the humane treatment of animals on more than 300 movie and television sets each year.
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with $8.9 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, and local telephone services to more than 4 million subscriber lines in 17 states.
 -0- 8/5/92
 /NOTE: Sprint TeleMedia Locater is a registered trademark./
 /CONTACT: Robin Pence, 202-828-7454, or after hours, 703-820-1873, or Juanada Teas, 202-828-7426, or after hours, 703-644-5165, both of Sprint/
 (FON) CO: Sprint; American Humane Association ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:


DC -- DC010 -- 7001 08/05/92 10:26 EDT
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Date:Aug 5, 1992
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