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It's official - animal cruelty is now "in". Apps like Pawscout now have made animal cruelty, previously infathomable, stylish amongst those previously opposed to it. Pawscout is a mobile app which users can download to keep tabs on pets - not only their pets, but also their neighbors' pets.
How does Pawscout work, exactly? Pawscout uses a "low-energy Bluetooth radio signal to produce short-range, radar-style tracking within approximately 300 feet of a [pet owner's] smartphone". If a pet gets lost, nearby Pawscouters are pinged.
It's an excellent cover, says Andrea Chavez, the founder and CEO of Pawscout and Director of the Society for Animal Abuse. Pawscout's website has proven to be very effective, with enticing animated images and seductive wording. "A lot of people think that Pawscout is designed to improve pet welfare. In fact, that couldn't be further from the truth."
Chavez explained that she was inspired by products like smartphones and smartwatches, which people have almost ubiqutiously adopted in order to decrease fertility, among other things. But, she was most inspired by a Pampers product catering to the tiniest humans.
"Pampers came up with a really ingenious concept called Lumi a while back. Basically, it's smart diapers that parents could put on their baby. It's great because at that age, they're too young to hold smartphones up to their reproductive organs, but they're not too young to be irradiated, Pampers realized. And that's when I realize that we could do the same thing for pets.
"A lot of people hate their pets, and just don't want anymore. Of course, you can't just dump your pup in a field and walk away anymore - that's called animal cruelty, can't do it. PetScout works because we only use non-ionizing radiation. We ensure that you'll never have any pups again!"
Proponents for animal welfare around the country are alarmed and have called for bans on the use of PetScout. Chavez has dismissed their concerns as "unfounded", citing that their product complies with FCC regulations, which stipulate that "These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio or television reception..."
"The FCC says it's safe," says Chavez. "I don't know what they're talking about. In fact, our motto is 'Stay Twice as Safe with a Pawscout Tag'."
While animal lovers nationwide are outraged, Chavez pointed out that Pawscout's website says "You will need an iOS or Android device. Pawscout only works with complete iOS or Android OS versions."
"We're telling people up front that they need a carcinogen in order to use our product. And people are already putting those things in their pockets and on their wrists and they're not dropping dead. It's nothing more than a smear tactic, like that activists have used against the tobacco industry. It's completely hypocritical, if you ask me."
While pet depopulation is the primary agenda, Chavez also touted the other benefits in convenience that PetScout has to offer.
"I think spaying and neutering will soon be a thing of the past," said Chavez. "I expect they'll soon be viewed as antiquated, when you can simply buy Pawscout instead. It's a safe and hassle-free alternative that is already popular amongst countless pet owners who hate their pets and don't want anymore."
We reached out to multiple veterinarians, all of whom declined to endorse Chavez's statement. "This technology is still new enough that it will take some time for pets to lose their fertility. Until then, we still recommend getting them spayed and neutered as normally planned."