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Petfinder.com Partnership Leads to Milestone Accomplishment of More Than a Million Pets Adopted in 2002

TUCSON, Ariz., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to a unique partnership between more than a half dozen companies and organizations, and online animal adoption resource and education network center Petfinder.com, more than a million orphaned animals found loving homes in 2002.

According to Petfinder.com President Betsy Saul, who started the adoption website in 1996, 1,174,698 pets went home last year as a result of the sponsorship and support of companies and organizations including Purina, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. (Nasdaq: PETC), PetHealth, Inc., the PETCO Foundation, Merial, Bissell Homecare, Inc., and ASPCA.

"It is the coming together of these allied but diverse partners in the interest of saving lives that accounts for these dramatic numbers," Saul said. "Their contributions were vital to our success, and they each continue to play a significant role in our growth and development."

Petfinder.com provides online services for 5,528 shelters in the U.S. and Canada, creating a daily searchable database of 109,743 adoptable pets. Shelters provide photos and descriptions of adoptable animals, which potential adopters can locate through general area searches or specific breed or species queries. The service is free to both the shelters and the adopters, thanks to Petfinder.com's sponsors.

"Petfinder.com has brought about a revolution in animal welfare," Saul said. "But we could not be doing what we're doing without the support of these companies and organizations."

Petfinder took its first great leap forward to go national in 1998 when it partnered with the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). "Since its inception, we saw Petfinder.com as a tremendous service to help place homeless animals. Our team of shelter experts has enthusiastically promoted this invaluable free tool to organizations across the country," explained Julie Morris, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA National Shelter Outreach (NSO) program. An extensive library including hundreds of articles on pet care and shelter operations advice developed by NSO is also available on the site.

Purina signed on as the Web site's premier sponsor."Purina's sponsorship of Petfinder.com aligns with our mission of advancing the lives of pets. We are thrilled to help Petfinder.com unite shelters with pet adopters," said Michael Moore, Interactive Marketing Director for Purina.

Other exclusive sponsors are BISSELL Homecare, Inc., a manufacturer of home cleaning and floor care products, and Merial, maker of the number one veterinary-recommended flea and tick preventative FRONTLINE®, and heartworm preventative HEARTGARD®.

"BISSELL admires Petfinder's vision and passion for the pet community," said Jim Krzeminski, BISSELL's senior vice president of product development, sales and marketing. "Given their dedication, we're not surprised at this incredible accomplishment, and are proud to be a part of their success." Petfinder.com has also allied with Pethealth, Inc., to provide a gift of two months of ShelterCare Pet Insurance, paid for by Petfinder.com, to every dog or cat adopted from a Petfinder.com member in approved states and provinces. Pethealth, Inc. is the second largest provider of pet insurance in North America, and the ShelterCare program is the first of its kind for shelter pets.

"The effective distribution of our ShelterCare insurance would not have been possible without Petfinder," said Pethealth President and CEO Mark Warren. "Their tireless efforts and generosity directed towards the animal welfare community across North America has led to over 2,000 shelters and rescue groups using the ShelterCare program which to date has meant that over 120,000 adopted dogs and cats have been insured through us."

PETCO is a leading specialty retailer of premium pet food, supplies and services, with a commitment to quality animal care and education. It operates more than 610 neighborhood stores in 43 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading destination for on-line pet food and supplies at http://www.petco.com.

"PETCO has always supported adoptions, and the PETCO Foundation continues to play an integral role in the company partnerships with animal welfare organizations in our store communities," PETCO Foundation Director Paul Jolly said. "Our relationship with Petfinder.com has enabled us to help animals all over North America, including areas where we do not currently have stores."

The PETCO Foundation, PETCO's non-profit organization, has raised more than $12 million for animal welfare since inception in 1999. More than 1,500 non-profit grassroots animal welfare organizations from around the nation have received support from the Foundation.

Petfinder.com is an online pet adoption source, partnering with more than 5,500 animal welfare organizations nationwide to find homes for orphaned animals. For more information, or to find a new friend, log on to http://www.petfinder.com.

Contact:

Germinder & Associates, Inc.
Lea-Ann Germinder, APR
lgerminder@germinder.com
816-822-0192



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