NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new program aims to reunite New Yorkers with their lost pets.

Searches by workers at Animal Care & Control of New York were cut back in recent years due to city funding cuts in the down economy.

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But now, a grant from the ASPCA has allowed the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals to hire a staffer to coordinate a group of volunteers, who will respond to lost pet reports filed with AC&C.

1010 WINS’ Susan Richard reports

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“The volunteers will physically go into the city shelters,” Alliance President Jane Hoffman told 1010 WINS. “They’ll scour websites, including Craig’s List where people often list lost or found pets, and will try to make matches and reunite pets with their people.”

The program will be officially launched Monday just in time for the 4th of July when organizers say pets may try to run away when they’re scared during fireworks and other festivities.

If your pet gets lost, file a report immediately at www.nycacc.org. You should also personally visit the AC&C shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

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As a preventative measure, make sure your animals are wearing a collar with tags and are microchipped. You can get more information on free or low-cost microchipping at www.animalalliancenyc.org.