Lost pets from Hobsons Bay and Macedon Ranges are the first to be posted online by The Lost Dogs Home under a new intiative aimed at reuniting more cats and dogs with their owners.

The home’s general manager of animal welfare, Dr David Cunliffe, said Strays Online was about increasing pets’ chances of returning home.

“When anyone loses their pet … we’re aware that it can be extremely distressing,” he said. “We know that everyone would want to do everything they can to ensure that they get their pet back. It is definitely our aim to expand the service to include all our partner councils and I have agreement from probably about 80 per cent of them to be included as we grow the service.”

Dr Cunliffe said Hobsons Bay and Macedon Ranges councils directly reunited registered and micropchipped lost animals with owners where possible.

“They’ve got a system where if you are picked up by the ranger and you are registered, you score a free ride home, which I think’s brilliant,” he said.

But pets that aren’t registered or chipped, or whose chips have not been updated, may end up at the North Melbourne pound. Last year, 384 cats and 282 dogs were brought to the home from Hobsons Bay and Macedon Ranges.