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Okay, all you mugs, smile for the camera

No, your pet won't have a criminal record, but a police mug shot could spring him before he's sent to animal control.

By AMY WIMMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 8, 2000


TREASURE ISLAND -- Except for a runaway cat that had to be apprehended by its owner and the police chief, the Treasure Island Police Department successfully launched its new pet mug shot program last weekend.

City police shot photos and compiled profiles of 36 Isle of Capri pets Saturday morning. All participating animals were cats or dogs, though iguanas, canaries and other non-traditional pets are invited to participate.

The police department plans to organize the pet profiles by neighborhood and keep the photos on file in case a pet gets lost in the community.

"It's a program that only small communities can do," said Detective Kathi Lovelace, who first had the idea for the program. "Obviously St. Petersburg and Clearwater and all of them can't do it. It's just another way to get closer to the community. A lot of people think of their pets as an extension of their families."

The department receives calls about loose pets about every other day, Lovelace said, and officers bring pets to the city's pet holding cell about once a week. She hopes the mug shot program will help officers identify pets' owners before the animals are sent to Pinellas County Animal Control.

The program continues from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Triangle Park between Second and Third streets in the Isle of Palms neighborhood. It will come to Paradise Island Dec. 2; Sunset Beach, Dec. 9; and Sunshine Beach, Dec. 16.

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