A GPS pet-tracking device has been launched by the RSPCA in an effort to curb the number of stray animals that end up in shelters each year.
RSPCA refuges take in more than 30,000 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies each year across the state and authorities are hoping the device will reduce the number of lost pets.
The small device, which costs $269, can pinpoint a lost pet within about 10m and can be attached to any animal's collar using a waterproof plastic case.
The TrakaPet GPS Animal Tracking System keeps owners informed of their pet's movements by texting map co-ordinates to a sync-ed smartphone. They can then be plotted on to Google Maps.
"Safe zones", such as a backyard or home, also can be programmed into the device.
As soon as the animal leaves the area, its owner will receive an alert via SMS.
RSPCA Queensland chief executive Mark Townend said TrakaPet was not a substitute for proper pet care, but allowed owners to keep tabs on their "little Houdinis".
"Obviously we encourage pet owners to make certain their animals are kept secure but this is an excellent back-up," Mr Townend said.
"Despite their owners' best intentions, we have some pets that manage to escape on a regular basis and end up at the shelter."
The device allowed RSPCA Queensland senior veterinarian Anne Chester to locate her poodle, Ned, who recently disappeared for several hours from her semi-rural home south of Brisbane.
The GPS device attached to his collar allowed Dr Chester to track him down to a nearby property in Beaudesert.
"We just turned up to their place at 8.30pm with our laptop and gumboots and told them our dog was in their back paddock," she said. "We'd never even met them."
Dr Chester said her three dogs no longer left the house without the locator.
"If I've been a bit slack and haven't charged them up, they don't get to go out," she said.
TrakaPet kits can be bought at the RSPCA World for Pets store at the Springwood Centre at Underwood or online at www.worldforpets.com.au. All profits go to the RSPCA.
This post has been edited by Tilly: 10 July 2011 - 11:11 PM