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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets?

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the lassie-tracking dept.

Idle 218

An anonymous reader writes "Google Latitude has already made headlines for allowing phone users to locate their friends, and there are countless other iPhone and Android phone apps already designed to transmit your location — but could pets be the next big thing in GPS tracking? A number of device manufacturers are marketing GPS technology as a futuristic tool for tracking your cat or dog, and even discovering exactly where they've been. These devices are sold under a number of names and brands, including Sportdog, LoCATor, RoamEO, Petcell, Zoombak and Pettrack."

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Are they (1)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974548)

that accurate? I mean, I know my animals rarely move over a long distance...often within the error range of GPS...

Re:Are they (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974580)

The exact, precise spot on the map, pinpointed location is off by like 60 or 100 feet or whatever they say. But if you're using a receiver using the same technology and made by the same company and all that, they're both probably going to be equally inaccurate and in the same direction, thus making the devices accurate relative to each other. So long story short, you can use a similar receiver to find them really easily with a location based then "hotter, colder" based system when you get close and it'll work just fine. If all you get is a computer screen at your house that says "go to ____ street, that's where they are" then it's going to be pretty inaccurate.

Re:Are they (3, Insightful)

masonc (125950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974702)

>they're both probably going to be equally inaccurate and in the same direction

No, they will be randomly inaccurate. However, if you have lost your beloved pet, 60 ft is close enough to tell you where it is.

Re:Are they (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974774)

I didn't RTFA (of course), but as far as normal GPS devices are concerned, errors do correlate with location. Atmospheric effects and multipath errors are good examples of that sort of errors. This is a well known phenomena that is often countered in professional measurements by using another receiver on a known location nearby.

Re:Are they (3, Informative)

masonc (125950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974968)

You are confusing inherently inaccurate devices with Differential GPS systems. In Differential GPS, the base station is located at a precisely known position and it constantly calculates the accuracy of the GPS measurement and broadcasts a correction signal. The location of the roving station is calculated relative to the base station using the correction signal as both know the measured location and the amount by which it is likely to be inaccurate.
This technique is used to establish highly accurate relative measurements, such as mapping a construction site. In these cases, absolute accuracy is irrelevant, the project can be feet away from where it is measured to be and no-one will care, but each building, pipe, duct will be placed to sub-centimeter accuracy relative to a known point on the site.
The correction can be applied in real time or in post-processing.

Re:Are they (2, Informative)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975414)

Sorry but I don't think I'm confusing things. I'm quite familiar with DGPS having used it numerous times, both automatic systems and "self built" setups where the corrections are done at a later time.

You claimed that two GPS devices "will be randomly inaccurate". I only pointed out that this is incorrect as part of the error does correlate with position (and time) so two devices in the same area at the same time will have more similar errors than devices further apart. You implied I'm somehow wrong, but I notice you didn't actually tell me how...

I have no idea if this has any relation to finding ones pet, but the point still stands.

Re:Are they (1)

masonc (125950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975524)

I had an engineering team do a survey of a site and explain to me how the handheld GPS units they used to record the perimeter with would be accurate as they "zero'ed" them by taking a reading at a known location before they started. They actual put that in a report.

A lot of people are under the impression that all GPS units are just as accurate. If that was the case, Trimble would be out of business.

Inexpensive GPS receivers will not resolve to as high an accuracy as the high end gear, even if they are in the same location. They won't have the computational ability, they will round more of the calculations, and the radios will not be as sensitive.

Re:Are they (1)

arh9623 (49521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975426)

As your answer sounds like you know a bit about DGPS, I'll take this opportunity to ask a quick question. Is there a minimum distance between the two receivers required to calculate the error correction? Could this work on smaller systems, such as a car, i.e. one receiver on the front and back?

Re:Are they (2, Informative)

masonc (125950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975486)

One has to be stationary.

Re:Are they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29974684)

I don't think that pet rocks are really the target market.

Re:Are they (1)

Moblaster (521614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974800)

Oh, it's accurate. Especially when you leave Fido in the car as you visit your other significant other.

Re:Are they (2, Funny)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974848)

My left hand?

Track pets = track people? (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974550)

My first thought was "Cool, pets don't have privacy issues so tracking them shouldn't be a problem. Would be great if they're lost". Then I thought about celebrities and their pets - how for some celebrities who think their pet is an accessory tracking their pet isn't that different to tracking them. Unfortunately its not limited to celebrities either.

Perhaps what you need is a GPS system that only switches on if the owner activates it remotely (or fails to respond to an alarm that requires you to tell it not to activate).

Re:Track pets = track people? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974592)

1) limit the data to one person's account. If someone wants the data out there they could export it themselves.
2) presumably someone would only have this if they really wanted to track their pets and putting something like this on someone else's pet without permission would most likely be illegal as it is.

Re:Track pets = track people! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976284)

1) limit the data to one person's account. If someone wants the data out there they could export it themselves.
2) presumably someone would only have this if they really wanted to track their pets and putting something like this on someone else's pet without permission would most likely be illegal as it is.

Tin foil hat time -

1) limit the data to the company providing the service, the government (presumably with a warrant, or the now traditional, mumble..terrorism...mumble") any motivated GPS hobbyist, and, yeah, one person's account.

2) putting this on someone else's pet would only be authorized by the war on nouns (Drugs, terrorism, etc.).

  It ia actually a mildly clever way to track a target. It does require getting a hold of a live animal, but that may not be a problem, depending on temperament of the agent and the beast.

Solution (1)

ickeicke (927264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976172)

What if they track both the pet and the owner, and then only register the pets location on the website (behind a password of course) when the pet and owner are more than n meters away from each other? The irony of this system is of course that in order to increase the privacy of the owner, he/she too needs to be tracked initially...

Get a leash! (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974584)

If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

Just off the top of my head, my dogs and I have come across:

  • a small dog that was frozen to death against a fence; 2 days after, the kids who owned it asked me if I had seen it - I had to lie to them and say I hadn't;
  • lots of cats frozen to death in snowbanks, where they crawl to try to get out of the wind;
  • cats with their guts all over the place because passing cars ran over them;
  • stray dogs that are hungry and scared;
  • cats with their backs broken;
  • lots of "have you seen this cat" posters (there are 2 different ones up right now on a single street);

GPS doesn't "fix" any of this. Letting your pets wander around is no more "humane" than letting a toddler run around. Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash; the only difference is that, if both a cat and a dog are picked up by the pound, the cat is a lot more likely to be put down (here, half of all dogs put up for adoption find homes compared to only 10% of all cats).

Also, your neighbours aren't exactly thrilled with your cats running around, killing birds, digging up gardens and flowers, and howling at all hours of the night. Or your dogs running around chasing people.

Put a leash on it. It's cheaper than a GPS, and it can save your pets' life.

Re:Get a leash! (0, Offtopic)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974620)

Wish I had mod points, you are so right.

Re:Get a leash! (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974862)

Thanks. We wouldn't put a GPS on a 5-year-old kid and let them run loose in the streets, thinking "It's okay now, they have GPS!" GPS won't keep someone from putting your kitten in a plastic bag and smashing it repeatedly against a metal fence until its' back is broken (some sick f*** did that in Verdun 2 years ago). It won't stop them from pouring gasoline on it and setting it on fire [thedenverchannel.com] . It won't stop them from torturing the cat and dumping it in a bag in the river [capitalnews9.com] .

There are a lot of sick people out there who delight in torturing animals - particularly cats [state.ny.us] .

Buster's Law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that had been doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teen in 1997. Prior to this bill becoming law, animal cruelty resulted in misdemeanor penalties, if any charges were imposed at all.

Tedisco noted that since the 1997 arrest that inspired the creation of Buster's Law, the perpetrator who abused the cat has been imprisoned for various crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl.

"People who abuse animals are on a fast track to one day harming or killing people. It is critical that state government take every measure possible to halt such an escalating pattern of abuse," Tedisco stated.

FBI reports show that animal cruelty is an offense that often leads to other, more serious crimes against humans. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a 1997 survey of the largest shelters for battered women in the United States found that 85 percent of women and 63 percent of children entering shelters discussed incidents of pet abuse in their families. Notorious serial killers Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer all had histories of abusing animals.

A GPS doesn't keep animals away from harm - a leash does. Walking your pet also strengthens the bond between it and you. GPS won't do that, either.

Re:Get a leash! (2, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976898)

We wouldn't put a GPS on a 5-year-old kid and let them run loose in the streets, thinking "It's okay now, they have GPS!"

I think you waaaaay over estimate most Americans there.

Re:Get a leash! (2, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974758)

I'm not a pet owner, but I thought cats were _supposed_ to be let out on their own (at least that's what cat owners tell me), because otherwise they go crazy and tear up furniture or start eating the children...

Maybe it'd just be easier not to have pets in densely populated areas...

Re:Get a leash! (0, Troll)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974882)

Cats are just bad pets. They are barely evolved from the wildcats that they descended from. They are not meant to be pets, they are meant to inhabit human settlements and clean up the rodents. If they are lucky, they can scavenge some table scraps.

Every animal that has been domesticated (dogs, cows, sheep, even the guinea pig) has evolved from pack animals. They know how to follow a master. Cats don't.

Re:Get a leash! (1, Troll)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975136)

What is this "Meant" word you use?

I'm pretty sure the was no "meant" involved in the evolution of cats.

You are correct in one respect, namely that domesticated cats are a relatively new concept. In Roman times cats were tolerated in cities simply because they did keep the mice population down. They weren't pets. This may not have been the case in other civilizations.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976144)

Cats most likely chose to live with us to their advantage unlike dogs, cows and sheep.

Re:Get a leash! (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975318)

In Malaysia there are monkeys pretty much anywhere there is a bit of bush and the ability to scavenge food. In Singapore cats are all over the place. They aren't huge and overfed like our cat. They are slimmed down killing machines.

It makes me wonder what happened to the monkeys? Do the cats kill them? I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29977092)

A cat would kill *you* if it could. Make no mistake.

On a side note, I was actually modded up for trolling cat lovers. Which means that cat lovers are apparently saner than Mac users (who will mod me down for even using the word in a not-entirely-positive fashion - despite the fact that I am a Mac user ...).

Go figure.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976382)

Lions ?

Re:Get a leash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29977152)

Strange you should claim that cats "are barely evolved from the wildcats that they descended from." I have five (5) felines and they all remain indoors. These cats epitomize the easy life house-cats really enjoy. They lay on the beds and chesterfields (couches) and play with their toys at their leisure. The cats even sleep with my dog.

Wisty, you should not have any animals. Period.

Re:Get a leash! (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974926)

I'm not a pet owner, but I thought cats were _supposed_ to be let out on their own (at least that's what cat owners tell me), because otherwise they go crazy and tear up furniture or start eating the children..

So instead of tearing up the furniture, they go out and kill birds and squirrels, dig up gardens and shit on your tomatoes, spray cars and motorcycles and front porches (cat spray really stinks, and once they mark a place, they and other cats will keep coming back), spend their nights howling at each other and fighting, and getting pregnant and having more cats that nobody wants.

Both cats and dogs can be handled with a leash. Too many cat owners are too lazy. They get a cat because, compared to a dog, a cat is a lot less work. You don't have to walk it several times a day. You don't have to poop-and-scoop, just get a litter box. You can ignore it for weeks on end, as long as you put down food and water.

Pets are a responsibility, and they take work. The GPS is a panacea for people who want to be able to say "I care for my pet" without actually putting out the leg work.

Re:Get a leash! (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975282)

I disagree. I am a cat owner and taking them out on a leach is much worse for them.

Cat like exploring and socializing, stuff that is totally inavailable for a cat on a leash. If they kill a bird or squirrel, so what? They're animals, it's what they do.
As for the territorial and sexual aspects, both can be greatly or completely reduced by taking your cat to the vet and neuter them. It's a painless procedure and it prevents the territorial marking, the howling and getting pregnant.

Of course, they can be killed by cars and such, but I had four cats until now and they all were free to roam and the three deaths I had were by natural causes.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975362)

Do you live in a built up area? If so perhaps your neighbours don't want your animals trespassing on their land.

Re:Get a leash! (0, Troll)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975510)

They can get catrepellent etc for their garden, for the rest, tough titties for them :P

Re:Get a leash! (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976222)

They can get catrepellent etc for their garden, for the rest, tough titties for them :P

Why should I have to spend money to pollute my environment just to control YOUR pests?

Why should I have to put up with your cat shitting on my lawn, or spray on my doorstep? Or is it now okay for my dogs to shit on your lawn, and mark their territory on your doorstep?

It's easier for me to just call the city and have them give you a $300 fine, plus $25 day for boarding the cat (minimum 3 days while the rabies tests are done, paperwork processed, etc.,), plus the cost for test to make sure it doesn't have rabies.

Don't like it? As you said, "tough titties for you". Don't want to pay the fines? Get a leash.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976726)

There's quite a bit of difference between dog shit on a lawn and cat shit buried in the flower bed. A neutered cat is no problem in the neighbourhood - they keep rodent numbers down, which is a benefit for everyone. If you're so upset with cats in your garden, you must be livid with all the birds flying around. It's culturally acceptable to have cats roaming the vicinity of its home, just as it's culturally acceptable to have dogs shitting everywhere, even if most of the shit is scraped up. If everyone had the mentality of 'pets must never, ever, ever inconvenience me in any way what-so-ever' your dogs would have to be walked in your own garden, never to leave your property, as even the most well-looked-after dogs cause inconvenience for others. But luckily most people are sane, and so aren't that ridiculous.

Re:Get a leash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976838)

Your cat met an unfortunate fate by my shotgun.

Well it was in my garden so "tough titties for you".

Re:Get a leash! (1)

garynuman (1666499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976982)

you're a pretty shitty person, pretty sure you belong in /b/ over at 4chan, certainly not here though....

Re:Get a leash! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976664)

I have cats and there is no such thing as cat repellant (unless large, noisy dogs count), only snake oil. Also your attitude is quite selfish.

Re:Get a leash! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29975402)

I absolutely agree. The cruelty of keeping cats on leashes or indoors is greater than the potential cruelty of having a smaller number of cats run over or attacked by a psycho. They are nocturnal, hunting animals. They come indoors to sleep. If you don't feed them too much they absolutely do eat what they kill, keeping down rats and mice where they are a problem.

We had rats. Now we have a cat, we don't.

If people can't face the idea that their cat might come to harm while it's out, they SHOULDN'T HAVE A CAT. They should get something like a dog which WILL be happy to be taken for walks etc etc. As for the breeding issues - responsible people have their cats neutered. That takes care of a lot of the territorial behaviours (spraying and excessive fighting) too.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976232)

You're misinformed. Domestic cats are fine on a leash. You can either look at the links I've posted elsewhere, or just search for "cat on leash". Many cats, once leash-trained, look forward to it.

Re:Get a leash! (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976456)

Many cats, once leash-trained, look forward to it.

You are a reprehensible excuse for a human being. All you have to know about this is that many prisoners, once locked up, never feel truly at home on the outside. Conditioning an entity to accept abuse doesn't make it no longer abuse. It makes them twisted, fucked up individuals. You want to alter a cat to conform to your idea of what it should be, instead of loving it for what it is. Are all your relationships like this?

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976548)

You are a reprehensible excuse for a human being. All you have to know about this is that many prisoners, once locked up, never feel truly at home on the outside.

So, since you've admitted in other posts that humans are animals (and I have no problem with that), and keeping animals inside instead of letting them stay outside in "natural conditions" is wrong, you live and sleep outside, right? After all, houses are "unnatural", and we wouldn't want you to feel abused by sleeping indoors.

Somehow, I doubt my dogs feel they're being abused when they climb into bed and take up most of the space and I'm the one left having to fight for the blanket. I also doubt they feel abused while enjoying a good brushing. Or eating food they didn't have to hunt for themselves. Or interrupting what I'm doing so I will pet them. Or being taken for walks when they ask. Or getting dried off after a walk in the rain. Or having a warm place to come in from out in the cold. Or having a cool place to come in from out in the heat. Or fresh water. Or not having to worry about others attacking them. Or any one of many other interactions.

Most of humanity should be so lucky.

Search the net - you'll see that domesticated cats adapt quite readily to leashes. They're called DOMISTICATED for a reason, you know?

Re:Get a leash! (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976890)

So, since you've admitted in other posts that humans are animals (and I have no problem with that), and keeping animals inside instead of letting them stay outside in "natural conditions" is wrong, you live and sleep outside, right?

Sometimes, I sleep outdoors. Sometimes, I sleep inside. I decide. Oddly enough, I afford my cat the same option, with the exception that her "inside" is not the house, but the attic of the addition. Nice logical fallacy though.

Search the net - you'll see that domesticated cats adapt quite readily to leashes. They're called DOMISTICATED for a reason, you know?

KITTIES IN THE MIST!

They're called domesticated so that we can feel better about how we treat them. So yes, it is for a reason. But cats are still wild beasties. The only reason they don't eat your face when they're mad at you is that they are too small.

Re:Get a leash! (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976428)

So instead of tearing up the furniture, they go out and kill birds and squirrels,

We have too many birds and squirrels where I live. I can not fucking believe you would defend squirrels, which are a nuisance anywhere but a forest. That's like these idiots who rescue deer that can't survive on their own. I'll rescue them, right into my fucking freezer. People are going hungry and people want to spend money to save the deer, I just can't fathom it.

dig up gardens and shit on your tomatoes,

Our cat has never disturbed the tomatoes, but she did shit on a yellow rose bush on the side of the house which put on a big flower set for the first time that we've seen. If a cat digs up your tomatoes there was probably something else trying to dig up your tomatoes from the underside, and having a cat living in the garden might have prevented that particular occurrence. We have around 1/4 ac. of fenced garden and Evil (the aforementioned cat) spends a lot of time stalking there, but has NEVER disturbed any of our food plants.

spray cars and motorcycles and front porches

Not if they're fixed. Additionally, I've only had dogs piss on my wheels, never cats.

spend their nights howling at each other and fighting, and getting pregnant and having more cats that nobody wants.

The fighting comes from too many cats nobody wants, while the howling and getting pregnant are solved by a cheap vet visit. It is not necessary to pen a cat up to stop it from breeding.

Both cats and dogs can be handled with a leash.

Putting any animal on a leash is wrong. If you can't have an animal without having it on a leash, you shouldn't have an animal. Period, the end, full stop.

They get a cat because, compared to a dog, a cat is a lot less work.

They get a cat because they like cats. Or as in our case, because they need one. Really, we could probably support three or more, and they could live on vermin year-round.

You don't have to poop-and-scoop, just get a litter box.

Evil is an individual and can handle her own shit. She never comes inside, though, because I am allergic to cats.

Pets are a responsibility, and they take work.

So far the work has come down to getting a prefixed cat for free, and putting aloe on a big gash she got on her chest, probably while fighting one of the large rodents we have on the property. It healed up very nicely without any modern medicine.

You are not very smart, and you have a personal crusade against pets. That makes you boring.

Re:Get a leash! (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976748)

Kill off all the squirrels and birds, and you end up with more mice and grubs and other pests. There's a natural balance. Feral cats upset it.

Neighbours' cat used t spray my motorcycle all the time. It eventually ended up dead (not my doing) when a car ran over it. It would have lived longer and been less of a nuisance if the owners had kept it indoors or on a leash.

Putting an animal on a leash is not wrong. A leash is more than just a physical restraint - it's also a line of communication between the pet and its' master. My dogs get very excited when I go for the leash. It also helps keep them under control when someone else's dog acts stupid and tries to attack. They instinctively understand, when I pull them back, that they are not to fight - and if the other person doesn't quickly get their dog under control by PUTTING IT ON A FUCKING LEASH, I then give them some slack and let them fight back for a few seconds, before pulling them back a second time. The other dog always gets the message, and so does the owner.

This happens once or twice a decade. Last month, stupid guy thought it was funny to show off how scary his Doberman was to his friends by letting it off its' leash to go after my dogs while I was walking them. Stupid retard. When he was too slow to put the leash back on, I let the dogs have some slack again. He got the message - keep your Doberman under control and properly leashed, or next time I'll let mine defend themselves, and you'll have a dead dog, a nice bill from my vet, probably a big chunk of your own ass missing, AND some explaining to do to the police (all dogs are required to be leashed here, an the owners of unleashed dogs that attack are prosecuted). He's a bully, and like all bullies, when you stand up to them, they turn out to be cowards. He said he was going to put a bullet in my head, but he's made sure he and his dog are now really scarce, so everyone else can walk their dogs in peace again.

The first time I had to do this sort of thing was almost 20 years ago, when the owners of a Great Dane were literally terrorizing all the other dog owners in the neighborhood. Their dog would lunge after everyone's dogs and try to bite them. First time it went after mine, I pulled him back and told them to keep their dog under control. Second time, a week later, I let him have his slack. Great Danes might be big, but they're not much of a match for a Newfie. After about 15 seconds, I pulled him back again, and told them that if it EVER happened again, I would slip his chain completely off. After that, they took to walking their dog elsewhere, and everyone else was happy.

The point is, I shouldn't HAVE to do stupid shit like that. I want my dogs as PETS. I want them to be good around other animals, and around people. I shouldn't have to let them defend themselves against other people's out-of-control animals. People should keep their animals under control, for everyone's benefit. If you can't control it, you shouldn't have it. If it's not socialized to be safe around people, then don't bring it where people go. If you don't want it pick up after it (dog or cat), then give it to someone who will, and stop creating a nuisance. If your ego is so weak that you have to have a "tough fighting dog", go get a prescription for Viagra.

Obviously I don't hate animals. I *do* hate that people can't control theirs, or act irresponsibly with respect to them, creating either a nuisance or a danger for others.

Re:Get a leash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29977022)

I just have to praise your posts again, I could not agree more.

My favorite breeds are those considered, as you say, "tough fighting dogs"; doberman, rottweiler, GSD... they are just like any other dog and are very loving and caring. It is just when idiot thugs and gangster-wannabes have them that they attack people and get a bad reputation (they are, after all, very big and powerful, and can potentially be very dangerous).

You know what I mean if you have a newfie (who are BIG!) but sweet as anything. My other half has had alot of bull terriers (mainly staffie and english) also incredibly cuddly and sweet, not aggressive in the slightest.

I love all animals, and think it is great to keep pets. The problem is when owners dont take responsibility for them. This is especially relevant for cats and their owners.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976830)

spray cars and motorcycles and front porches

Not if they're fixed.

Wrong. They will spray regardless of being fixed. You don't have to bother googling up anything to try to disprove it, I've got two fixed cats that spray.

Re:Get a leash! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29974998)

I am not big on pets, but I know a good number of people who have cats and keep them inside without any problems. Cats will hunt if let outside, but they do not need to be let outside.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975346)

I keep my cat inside all the time. Those cat owners are just lazy and can't be bothered keep control of their animals.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

stompertje (927012) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976410)

Cats can be kept in house perfectly well. I live in a smallish apartment and our cat is used to living indoors. She can wander around on our small balcony if the weather permits (and she loves it), but living indoors is not a problem at all. Large dogs, on the other hand, will probably go crazy.

Re:Get a leash! (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974894)

If you love your dog or cat, keep it on a leash outdoors. Being able to track it down when it's road kill, or frozen to death and chewed up by a snowblower, isn't being a good owner.

Just because bad things can and do happen, doesn't mean we should keep animals on a leash. I have had plenty of cats, I did get them shots and neutered/spade, but besides not declawing them (for defense purposes), I let them have free run outdoors. Yes, I was on the main road and some got run over, but the vast majority were okay. I never had one freeze to death, but I did provide a small, waterproof dog house for them to stay in if the weather got bad and no one was there to let them in. They weren't stupid creatures although they often did stupid things. I figured the few losses were worth their freedom - they weren't bored animals tethered against their will to a small radius. (And yes, I had to shoot one with my .22 because of injuries sustained against a bigger animal it fought -- something the leash doesn't prevent -- but consider it a similiar to having to do that because it was hit by a car and not killed. Wasn't happy about it, but it had a decent life otherwise).

Although I would refuse to adopt cats from other places, the insiders always got into trouble and did stupid things.

Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash;

The cats I have had would first fight against the leash and try to pull it off any which way, then try to choke themselves going around corners or through underbrush getting it off, or run in circles entangling themselves and the leash. They'd be thouroughly neurotic within a week, and if ever let loose, probably choose to adopt a different household to cohabit.

But then I had only outdoor cats (housebroken, would sleep the cold nights inside, but the rest of the time outside).

Re:Get a leash! (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974944)

I let them have free run outdoors. Yes, I was on the main road and some got run over

I had to shoot one with my .22 because of injuries sustained against a bigger animal it fought

I think you're proving my point.

Re:Get a leash! (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975248)

It seems like a subjective judgment. Which is better: keeping cats indoors their whole lives, except for periodic walks outdoors on leashes, and therefore keeping them safer but quite constrained; or allowing them to wander about outdoors as they wish, but with significantly more risk to their safety? Even in humans, the tradeoff between safety and quality of life is subjective, and people do plenty of things that are quite dangerous, like riding motorcycles, skiing, and surfing.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976174)

Pets don't have the instincts to cope with an urban environment. Cars certainly aren't a part of their natural environment. Neither are snow blowers.

WRT your arguments about cats : "Which is better: keeping cats indoors their whole lives, except for periodic walks outdoors on leashes, and therefore keeping them safer but quite constrained; or allowing them to wander about outdoors as they wish, but with significantly more risk to their safety?" - try it with dogs, and it fails. Dogs' lives aren't constrained because their owners walk them on leashes - quite the contrary, it strengthens the bond between pet and owner. The only reason it's "different for cats" is the cultural assumption by lazy owners that "cats need to roam about", an assumption with no empirical basis.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976756)

Apart from the fact that cats are intrinsically different animals to dogs, and have different requirements, and enjoy different pursuits. Apart from that, yeah - they're identical.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975340)

It's what they do! Cats and dogs fight! Is a life of imprisonment, completely against their natural behaviors, better? I don't agree.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

Talisman (39902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975394)

If you can't provide the correct environment for a pet, _DON'T_GET_ONE_.

Growing up, we had several dogs, but we also had a 1 acre fenced lot for them to run around and be dogs on. People who keep animals, especially large ones, cooped up in a house are being rather cruel. This doesn't mean if you live in an apartment, you should buy a Great Dane and periodically let it run free in the streets. It doesn't balance out.

So if your option is to let them run loose in your only available environment, which will inevitably lead to them getting in fights, screwing up the property of others, having them run a serious risk of being hit by a car, or just annoying the public in general, DON'T GET THE PET. If you already have one and are forced into such a situation, find another home for the pet that allows them to be happier.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

HBoar (1642149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975860)

I live in a city of ~400,000 people, and somewhere around 300,000 pet cats. I agree with your point about the risk of car accidents, but I have to say that I've never heard of cats causing significant property damage. Nor do i see/hear more than two or three cat fights every year. This despite living in a suburban street where almost every house has one or more cats, all free to roam the neighborhood. It is almost unheard of to restrain cats in any significant way here.

I can only assume that neutering is not so ubiquitous in the cat population where you are. It is considered highly irresponsible to even own an un-neutered adult cat here, unless it is specifically wanted for breeding purposes. This seems to prevent the worst of the territorial behavior you describe.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975126)

No cat in the world can be kept on a leash. You don't keep them, they keep you.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976136)

No cat in the world can be kept on a leash. You don't keep them, they keep you.

Are you nuts? I've done it. So have plenty of other people. It's not that hard with cats that are kept indoors, provided they're already used to wearing a collar.

Or are you going to claim that you can't control an animal that's a small fraction of your weight and strength, and that you can't outsmart an animal that's got a small fraction of your brains? Look at how much bigger than us a horse is ... and we still do it ... and you can't even control a cat? Oh, right, you're from the "you don't keep them, they keep you" school of thought. I've heard of being pussy-whipped, but by a real pussy-cat? That's just sad.

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/pettalk/2009-02-24-cats-leash_N.htm [usatoday.com] " Cat on a leash: We'll walk you through it

Back in the late 1950s when I was a wee one in small-town Maine, we all -- kids and grown-ups alike -- snickered relentlessly at the lady who lived across Benton Avenue from my grandparents. Every afternoon she'd carry her massive tiger cat outside and connect a long cable to its harness, and the cat would spend the next several hours sunning herself, scratching at the maple tree and stalking birds.

This was at a time when people had mostly indoor-outdoor cats that roamed at will. Most of those cats had short lives, the result of unfortunate run-ins with cars, foxes, dogs and other cats. The neighbor lady's cat, on the other hand, lived nearly 20 active, sociable years. So much for our derision.

I thought about that old cat recently when on two separate occasions I saw women walking their cats through the park. Yup. Cats in harnesses on leashes strolling about the boulders and pine trees. Acting like it was the most normal thing in the world.

Turns out that in these times when most cat breeders, trainers and shelter personnel implore people to protect their cats by making them indoor-only pets, a few are recommending leash walks for felines as a way to stimulate them, keep them fit and allow them to connect with nature.

There's even a new self-published book, Walk Your Cat, The Complete Guide (Spiraka, $12.99), written by Steven Jacobson and Jean Miller, a married couple who have trained a handful of cats to prowl about confidently at the end of a leash.

"After a tough day," says Miller, a Virginia Tech philosophy instructor, "it's a nice, relaxing thing to come home, get the leash and take the cat out for a long walk."

Right.

Even she acknowledges that those words have an odd ring to them.

She hopes that in five or 10 years, though, cat owners the world over will be seen every evening de-stressing with cat walks. For the moment, however, as perhaps the nation's most vocal cat-walk advocate, she's "spending a lot of time trying to overcome the stigma."

The reasons leash walking for cats isn't already part of the American routine, she says, are twofold. First, most people think you can't train cats. More important, anyone who has ever tried to venture into kitty-stroll territory has probably been wildly unsuccessful. And that, Miller says, is "because they've used a dog model of leash training. That's certain to fail."

Miller and Jacobson have developed a step-by-step method that they say ensures success as long as the owner abides by the ever-so-important, can't-be-breached, No. 1 rule: You can't rush the process. It could take months to get a cat accustomed to the harness, confident with the process, no longer struggling against the leash, responsive to such words as "wait" and "no," and willing to return home when it's time.

The authors say that the command-and-control approach often used with dogs never works with cats (and will likely spur them to escape their harness and dash off), so it's important to know how to motivate them, how to reassure them when they get nervous, and how to habituate them to the sometimes-scary sounds and sights of the great outdoors. The couple's training method offers instruction in all these areas.

Other links:

Leash Training Cats:http://cat-training.suite101.com/article.cfm/leash_training_cats [suite101.com]
WikiHow: http://www.wikihow.com/Leash-Train-a-Cat [wikihow.com]
About.com: http://cats.about.com/cs/behavioralissues/ht/leashtrain.htm [about.com]

Re:Get a leash! (3, Informative)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975216)

My cat is miserable if I won't let him outside. You know all those annoying things cats are known for? Well, he's pretty good about that... unless I haven't let him outside for 2 days. On day 3, he's pissing on things, breaking lamps, scratching everything in site, meowing at me constantly, "accidentally" using his claws with me, getting on the countertops, letting the dog into the basement* and generally terrorizing the place.

He's 15 years old and as healthy as a horse. I've let him outside nearly every day of his life since the day I adopted him from a farm where he learned to hunt. My neighbors started complaining about these red squirrels that moved into the area, but they haven't come near my place (and neither has any other rodent pest). He rarely hunts birds, but my neighbor seemed to think he was a nuisance killing birds. Apparently there is a law in my area that cats cannot be let outside (Wtf?) I received a police citation and kept him inside for two whole weeks (Uggghh). Finally, I found an exception to the law, filled out the forms and started letting him outside again. He was the happiest I've ever seen him.

Pets are animals. Letting them outside can get them killed. But humans go outside all the time where we are frequently killed. Humans go outside and are run over by cars. Humans go outside and freeze to death. Humans go outside and starve to death.

There ARE two sides of the argument, and quite frankly pets are animals. Its humans that despair when their pets die, and its humans that are responsible for keeping their pets safe. But it's also humans that are responsible for keeping their pets happy. Don't tell ME how I should care for my pet. One cat wanders outside every day, the other cat lolls indoors all day. Don't lecture me on what's humane.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

xyph0r (1153429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976020)

I also have a cat around that age (perhaps a couple years younger), and he is also extremely healthy. He spends most of his time outdoors, and usually sleeps out there, unless it's very cold, or raining, or he'd rather play with the dogs all night. He used to have a habit of bringing us back birds or mice (and even once a bat, which still amazes me to this day), but it never really bothered me. In fact, I found it very amusing.

I pretty much trust my cat to not get itself killed (fighting is ok, it's HIS garden, not that ginger piece of crap from next door), as he's a fairly clever animal. I know that if I let him out, he's going to come back for food in a few hours, or sleep in the shed, or go wherever it is he spends his time. Then eventually he'll come back, come to my room and curl up on the bed.

Sure, it might be cool to track him, maybe a bit of a novelty, but I would think that anyone who trusts their pets to go outside (the majority of cat owners, I would think) already know that they're going to be OK. And the only time you'd need GPS on an indoor animal is if it escaped, which might mean you're not doing your job right or just got outwitted by a dog or rodent.

That is not correct here around (2, Interesting)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975348)

The animal pound usually do not pick up cat with a tatoo in the ear, or when they do they contact the person to which it is registered. Lately they even have programs with those chips, but I prefer a visible tatoo. What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people doing that type of shit). Most people which have cat I know of, try to get their cat to come back home in the evening. So again yowling cat outside are most probably not a home cat. As for killing birds, well you realize that cats in the wild DO eat birds, rodent and various small animals, right ?

Re:That is not correct here around (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976318)

All the municipalities here have contracts with vrious animal shelters. It doesn't matter whether the dog or cat is chipped, tattooed, or has a tag - they're picked up when someone complains, and the owner is fined $300 plus costs.

If you decide to take the animal to the city instead of having the pound pick it up, the owner can pick it up from the city holding area if it's not more than a few hours, but they still have to pay a fine.

Responsible pet ownership includes not letting pets run free in an urban environment.

Most people which have cat I know of, try to get their cat to come back home in the evening

... and how do they accomplish this magic trick? Did they give the cat a cell phone so they can consult their GPS? :-) It's hard enough getting kids to come home on time.

What you have at the pound are most probably either stray cat, or abandoned animals, and that happen all too often with cats and dogs (neat and nice while small, and once they reach 1 year old or the next summer holiday, left over the side of the road, I wish I could have a few word with people doing that type of shit).

Animals end up at the pound for all sorts of reasons. My St. Bernard and my original Newfie were both pound dogs. My current Newfie is a rescue dog. My wolf's also "sort of rescued dog". Only the last of those was dumped on me as a "pup." A lot of adult dogs get abandoned because people's lives get f*ed up. Divorce, financial setbacks, having to move to a new location that doesn't allow pets, allergies, kids, ...

Then, as you say, there are the assholes, like the people who chained 2 St. Bernards in a rising river and left them to drown. It was only luck that someone saw them. Or the asshats who breed dogs for a quick buck, and the ones that they can't sell off, they leave outside in unheated barns in 30 below weather with minimal food - if they survive ... but many don't.

Kennel Clubs are a big part of the problem, creating artificial demand for "pure-breds" of dubious quality that then end up getting dumped. And people who buy these dogs as "status animals."

The average lifespan of a domestic dog, all things considered, is only 3 years. A *lot* of them never see their second birthday because they've become "inconvenient" before then. Most people could learn a lesson or two about loyalty from their pets.

Different country, different use (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976586)

There is no such a things as animal pound being different from the city or private. There is only the regional animal pound, and they never come to you if you complain about an animal. You have to talk to the police which might decide to directly call the pound, and THEN you get fined. But privately owned animal shelters or orgs cannot take an animal even if there is a complaint. That has to go to formal ways to the local PD.

"Responsible pet ownership includes not letting pets run free in an urban environment."
that can be discussed. I tend to think the same, but some value giving more freedom to the pet, to the possible cost of death.

"... and how do they accomplish this magic trick? Did they give the cat a cell phone so they can consult their GPS? :-) It's hard enough getting kids to come home on time."
From all I cat I got : the force of habits, and making it responsive to food calls. Granted it does not happen 100% of the time, and at least once every two month I had some of my cats come back in the morning, but for the huge majority of the time : yeah. Kids are far more block headed than cats or animals, animals can be trained a bit, whereas in my limited experience kids intentionally disobey you for the kick out of it. None of my cats died of car incident BTW, two died of cancer at 12+, another one died of cardiac problem at 8+, the two other are alive and kicking. That is 30+ years of cat history.

Re:Different country, different use (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29977104)

There is no such a things as animal pound being different from the city or private. There is only the regional animal pound, and they never come to you if you complain about an animal. You have to talk to the police which might decide to directly call the pound, and THEN you get fined. But privately owned animal shelters or orgs cannot take an animal even if there is a complaint. That has to go to formal ways to the local PD.

Nope - here each municipality has a contract with one of several pounds, as well as their own small holding location - usually a couple of enclosures in the public works garage. If you call the city, they call the pound they contracted with, who then picks up the animal. The police are never involved - it's not their job - unless the animal has attacked someone. The police don't even issue the fine - you get it mailed to you by the city clerk, same as a tax bill. Again, the police aren't involved, same as they aren't involved for many other municipal infractions, like putting your garbage out too early (recently raised to $1000 fine to help counteract skunks and stray cats ripping garbage bags up). And you're wrong about private shelters not being able to take an animal. Most of the shelters that contract with the municipalities are private, and they have to take any animal that's dropped off with them by residents. It's part of their contract. When you call the city, they'll tell you which shelter has the contract this year, and you can either drop it off in person, dump it with the city, or keep it at home until the contractor can pick it up. The contractor will pick it up in one to three days. It's then up to the owner to claim it, pay the fees, fines, etc.

I know this is how it works because I had to go through it. I was walking my dogs one cold winter day when we came across a stray. He was friendly but shy. And obviously very cold (it was around -20). I didn't have a spare leash on me, but he did follow us home. I hooked my 3 dogs' leashes to the fence, quickly went inside, found an extension cord, and used it as a leash to bring him inside as well. (the logistics were a bit complicated. Leashed him, tied him to the fence, brought my dogs in, unleashed them, put them in a room, went back outside, brought him in, put him in a separate room, let the other dogs out, slowly introduced the new dog to the others).

I then called the local police, who gave me the number for the right department with the city (it was public works in this case). I brought the dog there, and they told me that they'd keep it until the pound picked it up. Since I know that the "failure rate" for dogs that go to the pound is around 50%, I made sure the guy agreed that if the dog wasn't claimed before the pound came to pick it up, to CALL ME and I'd take it back instead and find a home for it.

They never called, so the dog must have been claimed.

My point is that your belief that the police have to handle it, and that private shelters can't take dogs, certainly isn't true everywhere.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975428)

If I were to keep my cat tied down I wouldn't see the point in keeping one. It's a stark contradiction to their nature. Sure they can get killed just like any animal or human. That's life.

BTW, if you have your cat or dog chiped you can be contacted when a pound picks them up. No problem there.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976334)

BTW, if you have your cat or dog chiped (sic) you can be contacted when a pound picks them up. No problem there.

You'll still get fined $300 from the city, plus $20/day, for letting your animal wander around loose. A leash is just so much better - there's no "OMG where IS it?"

Cats do fine on leashes - do a search, and you'll see that cats come to expect their daily walk just as much as a dog does.

Re:Get a leash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29975704)

Putting a cat on a leash is no less practical than putting a dog on a leash

Haha, you should try that, the cat will lie down and not move. After two days it will try to crawl underneath the couch. Cats don't like leashes, they act like they are trapped. Hell, even sticking a post-it to a cat will render it immobile.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976482)

Haha, you should try that, the cat will lie down and not move. After two days it will try to crawl underneath the couch. Cats don't like leashes, they act like they are trapped. Hell, even sticking a post-it to a cat will render it immobile.

Me: Your cat is dead.
AC: No 'e's not ... 'e's uh,...he's resting.
Me: Look, matey, I know a dead cat when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
AC: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable feline, the Blue Siamese, idn'it, ay? Beautiful pointings!
Me: The fur don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
AC: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
Me: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cat) 'Ello, Mister Puus-n-Boots! I've got a lovely fresh fish for you if you show...
AC: (yanks the cat's tail)
AC: There, he moved!
Me: No, he didn't, that was you pulling the cat's tail!
AC: I never!!
... stunned ...
... pining for desert veldt ...
... fur glued in place ...

On a side note, if you REALLY want to see a cat run, either run the electric can-opener, or tie a balloon to their tail. for sure, they'll be either coming or going.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976366)

This is some kind of troll, right? Put a leash on my cat? She won't be very effective at killing rodents... or dodging foxes and coyotes.

Letting your pets wander around is no more "humane" than letting a toddler run around.

That's a bunch of bullshit. "My" cat is an adult that can make her own decisions. I doubt that if I were in her place I would still be alive. I expect more from my pets than you apparently do. (Not my parrot, who could not survive outside... but I keep her inside, so it's a non-issue. I know where she is.)

People are just animals with big brains.

Re:Get a leash! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976806)

"My" cat is an adult that can make her own decisions. I doubt that if I were in her place I would still be alive.

If your cat is so much better than you at making decisions, why not have her post to slashdot instead of you? By your own admission, her decisions are of a higher quality than yours, so her posts should be more interesting.

BTW - your cat has fewer neurons than a toddler. Far fewer. She's certainly not able to make decisions at the same level as the average adult human, though I'll grant your premise that she can make better decisions than you, if that will help :-p

Re:Get a leash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976780)

Thank you! I totally agree.

Where I live, it seems like every man and his dog (see what I did there) has a cat. They shit and piss everywhere, and howl all night. There is nothing I can do about it, because for some reason, cats are the one pet people dont need to take any responsibility for. Any other animal that gets out and defecates somewhere or bites someone, the owner is in deep shit (literally or figuratively or both), but nobody seems to care what a cat does because "they are supposed to roam around and be independent"... I think it's a load of bollocks and cat owners should be held responsible for their pets.

Alternative warning device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29974618)

called "Pancake Kitty" beeps you when your cat has been run over. A sick mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Re:Alternative warning device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29974694)

how about splatterhouse snoopy? it's for when you leave your barking dog outside all day while at work and your neighbors shoot it with their 12 gauge.

What's next? (2, Interesting)

rnturn (11092) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974646)

Tracking our goldfish?

Getting a little desperate in the Marketing Dept. for ideas on what to use GPS for?

Personally, I can't see the benefit for our household. The cats are either in the cat box, under a bed sleeping, or eating, or staring out a window at leaves rustle or at birds. If we had outdoor cats (unlikely seeing as how coyotes have moved into the area) it might make some sense if we had extra money laying around and we couldn't think of anything better to use it on. For most people, though, I think this a laughable idea.

Now if I were a cattle rancher, I could see maybe spending some money in order to track the cattle but I have a feeling it might be cheaper to just have the cowhands track 'em. They'd have to be around anyway to round the critters up in the event they were to go astray.

I'd guess that this will wind up getting sold in some high-end catalog. I could easily see J. R. Bigbucks buying one of these in order to brag to his friends at the country club that they know where little Fluffy is to within 3 meters.

Re:What's next? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974986)

You're right - they're desperate. Smartphones are totally killing the consumer stand-alone GPS market.

For the cattle, this would be a boon for the "get-a-chainsaw-and-cut-em-up" gangs.

  1. Find cattle using the GPS signal;
  2. Have one of the gang take the GPS transmitter and throw it on a passing train, wire it to the spare or an air hose on a a semi-trailer, toss it in someones' pickup truck bed, or just put it in a plastic bag and throw it in the river and letr it float away;
  3. PROFIT: Rest of gang chainsaws Bossy knowing everyone's off on a wild goose chase

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29975270)

Find cattle using the GPS signal

-- how?

Re:What's next? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976348)

The GPS emitter on the cow ...

What, you thought that the article meant giving cats and dogs their own Garmin or Tomtom to follow, so they could find their own way home?

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976576)

Well, of course, I know how CSI tracks cars that have GPS units...

But what I meant was that your ordinary thief will not have access to the position data. Since that would be presumably delivered on demand. Probably using "trusted", "reliable" GSM technology.

Re:What's next? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976846)

You're thinking too high-tech. Yo don't need the data. You don't need to decode the signal. A field strength meter and a directional antenna will suffice. Find out which direction the signal is coming from, and start walking towards it.

Re:What's next? (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975322)

I dunno. It doesn't have to be a very expensive solution. It will suffice with a mobile unit, a GPS unit and a SIM card. If you're wondering where your pet (or cow) is, simply use the supplied software. The software then sends an SMS message to the mobile unit, the GPS boots up and gets a lock, and then your software receives a reply containing the coordinates. This is relatively low-tech, and not very expensive. I guess the unit might cost about 100 bucks with a decent battery that will last a few days (for pet uses). A look up of your pet's location will cost a whopping price of 2 SMS-messages.

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976384)

I could have used this a few months ago for the cat that adopted our family. He's generally self-sufficient, loves to roam the neighborhood, but obviously housebroken and is very sweet and gentle with people. A few months ago he didn't come home one evening, and after 3 long days of wondering what happened, we finally found him by going back over previous events and talking to a neighbor at just the right time.

One of our old and mostly-deaf neighbors has an old storage shed that he rarely gets into; usually only on beautiful days when he wants to do some garden work. It turns out that particular day had been wonderful, he'd left the door open, and our curious cat wandered in and went to sleep in the sun. Of course, he then got locked inside for 3 days...

Our cat was fine afterward, albeit anxious and wanting to be near open spaces for a while, but some sort of locator would have avoided that entire ordeal.

Best possible use (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29974652)

Track the squirrels. Those little bastards are up to something.

Re:Best possible use (1)

aws4y (648874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975236)

I know, there even in AZ now, I mean come on we all know that they have taken over the east coast, there just waiting.... watching

Re:Best possible use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29976596)

The bastards are always running on the damned phone wire and chewing on it. Had it replaced three times in the last 11 years.

Evil buggers.

LoCATor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29974818)

LoLcaT0r
i can haz gee pee ess?

It already does (1)

HeikkiK (1517929) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975172)

In Finland it is already quite common to track dogs by using GPS when hunting. There are at least two companies in Finland manufacturing these equipment: tracker.fi and pointer.fi. The package the dog is carrying has a cell phone HW in addition to GPS HW. Packet data (GPRS) is used to deliver the dog position to the owners smartphone. You can actually call your dog and listen how he is barking... :)

Cheap RFID Tag/Sensors? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975178)

The problem with GPS on each pet is that the device is expensive, and needs power. What about RFID tags on the pets, and a single central RFID sensor tracking them? Maybe just tracking whether the tags are within range, if 3D position is beyond the capability of the cheap sensor. Pets travel in packs together, so this "swarm" tech could work on them.

The RFIDs don't need power, and they're cheap enough to just replace when a pet loses or damages a collar. If the central RFID sensor is cheap enough, this could be a popular solution. If it can attach to a cellphone, the GPS in the phone and its wireless networking (3G, WiFi, Bluetooth) could keep the swarm on the Internet.

Is the RFID gear available to use for this purpose?

Re:Cheap RFID Tag/Sensors? (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975644)

Pretty much all the RFID systems I've played with have a range of about 5-10cm. For something like a 1 metre range I think you'll need a seriously huge antenna.

Re:Cheap RFID Tag/Sensors? (1)

benchbri (764527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975788)

I've got two cats with RFID tags between their shoulder blades. The animal shelter put them in before they were put up for adoption. My other cat does not have an RFID tag, mostly because he was born in 1993.

MY pet (1)

iSzabo (1392353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975184)

My pet might notice a collar on it's neck, are there any that might attach with a magnet? So I can stick it underneath my pet without it knowing.

It's also important that I can track it in real time, because it tends to run away. It also runs fast, like a golf cart.

Tracking, or Recording (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975258)

You can certainly record where a pet has been on a small collar attached GPS, but unless it includes a transmitter you are not going to know where it is NOW.

Transmitters have to be licensed, or limited to very short range. Transmitters need batteries.

Garmin makes a hunting dog tracker. But its range is 7 miles line of sight. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=209&ra=true [garmin.com]

Battery life is 24 hours. Good enough to find your ill-trained dog at the end of the hunt, but not useful for tracking a lost or stolen pet.

With a cell plan, you could get by with lower power, because it only has to report its presence every once in a while, but you still end up funding a cell plan for a dog.

I don't see this as an economically viable solution to finding a lost or stolen pet. Further, it just exacerbates the problems of dogs running at large in urban areas. Perhaps this is why Canada banned these devices.

Ultra Long range RFIDs make more sense for this kind of work. You would need a directional antenna on a hand held device to pulse the tag, and it would respond, not with coordinates, but the device could map this for you.

Better Still ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975326)

... a combination of this with transmission of sensory input from the pet and of course a shot to enhance gene-expression (e.g. for better control).

Now this will be progress.

CC.

Would be a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29975720)

I had a cat who, given half the chance, would wander miles away from my house through the city that i live in.

It was a real pain.

I didn't want to lock the cat up all day while i was in college so i settled for a collar with a name tag and a little bit of luck.
It worked... for the most part. The only downside was going miles to collect the cat, cost of new collars as they were lost (intentionally, silly cat) and the miles of walking to collect the cat.

The cat just wanted to wander and find new people to manipulate into caring for it.

I would have loved a small little GPS tracking collar so at least i could tell when the cat wasn't wandering nearby and was already miles away on one of its treks.
I imagined a small phone module with a gps and a small battery that you could swap weekly. You could then call/text the number and it would power up the gps and send a text back with the coords.

Maybe its impractical at the moment though. Cat's will remove anything from them at the first opportunity, but at least you'll find it again. And it has to be pretty damn tiny to not weigh them down.

I can see this selling like mad for dogs though.

On The Internet... (2, Funny)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975736)

On the Internet
No one knows where your dog is
Or maybe they do

Deep breath: GPS HAS NO RETURN PATH. And relax. (1)

evilandi (2800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975806)

Am I the only person in the world who gets red-vision-throwing-stuff-Balmer-esque frustrated by the sheer number of nincompoops that believe that GPS has some kind of return path? Uninformed privacy nuts drive me up the bloody wall (as opposed to the informed ones, who I'm sure are jolly nice chaps all).

Re:Deep breath: GPS HAS NO RETURN PATH. And relax. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976948)

Wow, you'd think with six companies selling products to do just this, one of them would have figured that out by now.

New Tax? (1)

bocin (886008) | more than 4 years ago | (#29975856)

A federal tax on pet mileage?

Oblig joke (1)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976542)

Darling, I cant find tiddles. Can you do a trace route to her please!

I've got that beat (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29976944)

My poor arthritic dog can be kept track of with a roomba. Actually she never orbits very far away from the treat jar. So I could just keep the unit taped to the lid and always know where she is.

Sheldon

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