Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another "Opt-Out" list

Now, those of you who have pets, you may find what I'm about to say heartless. You're invited to skip this post. is a web-based telephone solicitation service that... Well, here's what they say:

When a child is missing, an Amber Alert is issued and the surrounding area, even the nation, goes to work to locate the child and return them safely home to their loved ones. is based on the very same principle to help spread the word rapidly about your lost dog, lost cat, or any type of lost pet!
It's a new service -- well, I guess it's new. I'd never heard of it until I received a call from them a few minutes ago. The oldest alert listed on their site for Georgia is from February 2010, but if you're as cynical as I am, you might wonder if there's any reason to believe them.

If you weren't already cynical, know this: Caller ID doesn't say "Pet Amber Alert" or anything of the kind. It gives the pet owner's name and number. That is, PetAmberAlert deliberately misidentifies themselves. 

But wait: This shouldn't be a problem, should it? I mean, this is just the kind of thing the Do Not Call List was instituted to prevent.

FAQs | What if my neighbor’s phone is unregistered/unlisted? is a leading, recognized emergency response service that is exempt by the National Do Not Call Registry, so we may call your neighbors who are on the Do Not Call list. This gives us an even greater chance of recovering your lost pet.
Human emergency response organizations don't make random cold calls to locate missing people. You love your pet so much that you don't perceive the danger in redefining the word "emergency" to mean "a lost dog."

Well, OK, you love your pet so much, and the little darling is housetrained so he's helpless outdoors, so of course there's some urgency to locate him. And how can anyone doubt the honesty of an organization devoted to such a noble task? | Lost Pets Found Using Phone Technology
"They are an do not call exempt organization because they are not selling anything."
The hell they're not! It costs $87 to issue an alert! Unless you go for the $197 package which offers ten times the number of unsolicited calls to your friends and neighbors. And just because your pet isn't lost (yet?) is no reason not to send them money: You can "pre-register" your pet and order an "Advanced Pet ID Tag" (don't worry, "advanced" doesn't mean anything useful like RFID chip technology, it's just a custom tag with their logo on it), which comes with pre-paid Amber Alerts should the unthinkable happen. (Three tiers of pricing, up to $50!)

If you do a Google search for "block petamberalert," all you get are pages explaining why you can't. But if you do a Google search for "petamberalert do not call" you can find their page containing the form to request removing your number from their database.

That will hold me until the next call comes, from an "emergency pest control" service, or an "emergency cable TV upgrade" service, or an "emergency shoe sale notification" service...

I'm trying to be reasonable, really. But something about their smug "your neighbors can't block us because we're a registered emergency response service" really gets my goat. Hey, goats can be pets, right? Maybe I should report that my goat is missing.

LATER: I'll muster up as much fairness as I can manage and tell you that they found the dog they called me about. I feel obligated to point out that PetAmberAlert had nothing to do with it: The women who had the dog saw a friend of the dog's owner putting up a "missing" poster.

1 comment:

Crosby Kenyon said...

And they'll try to get your goat again?