What if the United States starts the first "mandated" lost/found pet website? There is little effort from shelters to re-unite animals with their owners, and most don't even have to hold the animals that come in for any number of days because they set their own rules. And you never see "Found" flyers coming from a shelter. They assume the owners will know where to look and automatically call the shelter.
There are also laws, though very vague, on stealing someone's pet, yet it is always variably enforced, if at all. After a certain time limit, people will usually grant the people who wrongfully took someone's pet as their owners because they've been with them for so long. If someone kidnapped a kid, wouldn't their parents want them back even if they were say kidnapped several years ago? I think so.
However, what if all finders of any stray (or feral/wild, even) domesticated species of animal such as all cats and dogs, were simply required to post a found ad on one national site so all lost/found ads can be found on one place? What if it's as simple as broadcasting this site (database), and then sending notices to all shelters and vets that they are required to report all animals coming in as ferals and strays, with a photo, location, and the date the animal was found, and then the animal must be held at the shelter for a month (if that's too long at least two weeks, for adequate time to be re-united with the owner) before the animal can be euthanized. The time period to hold the animal would start from the day the animal was posted to the site. It could be placed in a foster home or in a 'temporary' adoptive situation prior. However, the owner would have a right to re-claim their pet in this time frame. This helps prevent animal theft or misplacement as well. This will also greatly increase the accuracy of statistics surrounding lost and found pets. The site could have several categories, for Lost/Stolen, Found, and Turned In. Turned in would be for pets given up to shelters and not admitted as stray, which may or may not be true.
If it is found out that a shelter, resident, or vet failed to report a pet coming in as a stray or feral/wild to this site, or fails to scan any pet for a microchip, whether or not admittedly stray or feral, then they would have charges pressed under the law. At any time the owner can claim their pet should they find out that their pet was taken by someone and not reported on the site for them to re-claim or scanned for a microchip if they have one.
Shelters should also be required to do the same simple step for all other animals coming in, as pets "turned in" this week, etcetera. So, for instance, if a neighbor takes someone's pet that they have been feeding as a stray and turn it in to the shelter, claiming it's their own, they will still be posted with a picture on their site so their original owners can identify them online.
Also, the ads should never expire. Pets, especially microchipped, have been known to be brought home after up to 14 years (that I know of, it may be even longer) after going missing. This will also help aid owners in getting their pets back if taken wrongfully through theft. If all residents are made by law to abide by the same rules, to report any animal they decide to take in as a stray to this site, then it will greatly reduce the number of people with missing pets, and also with animal theft, as people will be dissuaded from taking an animal in that they may know has an owner because they could be sued or have charges pressed if they cannot prove they owned the pet for the entirety of its life and someone else can, and they did not have the owner's permission to take their pet. In addition to posting to the site, all residents, shelters, and vets would be required to scan every single animal that walks in their door for a microchip, including pets, upon each visit, even if they have been going there for years on record or are just there for a routine vaccination, in case it had not been scanned in the past, or in case the pet is actually a different pet. This will prevent people who have been responsible and have had their pets microchipped from being stolen and passed off as someone else's, or being turned in to a shelter when someone else wrongfully can claim the animal was theirs knowing then it won't be scanned, and could be killed, when their owner is just a phone call away. Of course, the owner would then have prove they are the actual owner, with their own photos, vet records, description etcetera.
As a pet owner and lover, it would give us great peace of mind knowing there is someone out there looking out for our pets as our children, and since we reguard them as such, should be re-united with their families just the same, no matter how long they've been missing. Please help in this effort. It's as simple as putting a site out there for us all to use, broadcasting it, and putting the rules down for shelters, vets, and residents to follow to be mandated to report all found cats and dogs, whether or not believed to have an owner.
Keeping pets out of shelters nationwide, and maybe even world-wide, and preventing millions of lost pets from becoming eternally lost can be as simple as having cooperation. Maybe most of the "strays" will go back to their home no one knew they had instead of being re-"adopted" or euthanized, and I have an idea.