Community & Environment

Hamilton first to trial Bluetooth dog tags

Spot, the dashing dalmatian

Hamilton will be the first city in New Zealand to trial a new dog tag technology, Doggone, designed to help reunite dog owners with their lost dogs easily and quickly.

Dog owners in Nawton, Grandview Heights and parts of Dinsdale are invited to take part in the free trial to evaluate the benefits, with a view to potentially have the technology as part of dog registrations in the future.

Doggone links a virtual ID the owner has created for their dog with a Bluetooth registration tag and the free Doggone App. The Bluetooth tag essentially ‘talks to’ the Doggone App and when the dog is marked as lost on the App by its owner, the owner receives location updates of where their dog has been. The location updates are initiated when the dog passes within 60m of someone else with the Doggone App. The App is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Hamilton City Council’s Animal Education and Control Manager Susan Stanford says they’re excited to see what dog owners think of the different tags.

“Doggone has the potential to save dog owners money and a whole lot of stress if their pet happens to be lost,” says Ms Stanford.

“We’re always looking at ways to be innovative and want to test the waters to see if dog owners think this kind of technology is useful.

“We have 1000 Doggone tags available for the trial which is why we’ve limited it to just three suburbs. These suburbs not only have a lot of dogs, they are also in a close geographical area, which will provide us with robust data around the trial.”

CEO of Doggone Ltd, Tracy Austin, says the inspiration behind Doggone was the opportunity to reduce the anxiety and stress felt both by a dog owner and the dog when the dog is lost.

“There are many reasons why dogs are referred to as ‘man’s best friend’. People who have experienced their dog being lost will tell you, the stress of not knowing where your dog is can be overwhelming, and the longer it’s lost, the more stressful it becomes,” says Ms Austin.

“I wanted to develop a way of quickly reuniting dog and dog owner that is smart, safe, easy to use and accessible to everyone to encourage a whole of community response to keeping dogs out of shelters and at home where they belong.”

The trial will run from October to December 2018 with eligible dog owners needing to sign up before Wednesday 19 September.

The Council and Doggone will also host two public drop-in days to show how the system works on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 September 2018 from 10am to 2pm at the Western Community Centre.

There is no cost to the dog owners taking part in the trial. Costs associated with the trial tags and App development have been covered by Doggone.

For more information or to sign up for the trial, visit hamilton.govt.nz/doggone or doggone.co.nz

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