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Innovative Pet Collar Captures National Inventions Contest

03/23/06

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, March 23, 2006 -- 5,000 ideas and thousands of votes later, the inaugural PetSafe IdeaFetch pet product invention contest finishes. A surfer from Florida, a volunteer EMT from New Jersey and a retired engineer from Maryland make up the top three winners. The winning pet invention, The MicroID™ Collar, will provide a way for pet lovers to place an electronic journal on a pet's collar to store pet and owner data including name, address, phone number, vet visits, medications, etc. and will be sold nationally at PETCO stores later this year. The top three winners and their products were unveiled at the American Pet Product Manufacturer's Association (APPMA) Global Pet Expo in San Diego on March 23, 2006. Visit www.ideafetch.com for a complete list of the top ten winners.

PetSafe challenged the public to enter helpful pet ideas between October 1 and November 30, 2005, on www.ideafetch.com, for the chance to win $40,000 along with having their idea developed and sold nationwide.

The winning idea, The MicroID™ Collar, is for cats and dogs that like to get out and explore the world. It works by incorporating a flash card memory device into the pet's collar. The device has an electronic journal for storing all pet and owner information. To enter pet data onto the card, simply insert the card into a computer and follow the step-by-step instructions. The device is protected within a waterproof housing that easily slides into the collar and houses the pet data. The advantage for a person finding a pet with the PetSafe MicroID Collar is that they can instantly know multiple points of contact for the owner, any medical concerns if treatment is necessary and other specific pet care needs.

The MicroID™ Collar is the first of its kind in many ways. Product FIRSTS include: pet identification solution with a lifetime warranty, USB pet identification collar, identification solution to solve all issues with micro chipping and the first pet identification collar to contain all vet records, contact information AND pet photos. The collar provides a non-invasive solution, is easily accessible through any computer and is concealed within the collar for protection from environmental conditions.

"For the past 14 years, my dog Cookie has liked to run wild. With the growing number of cars and roads, I want to ensure I find my dog before any car does," shares IdeaFetch winner and first time petrepreneur, Jonathan Warren, of West Palm Beach, Florida. "My father gave me the human version of the MicroID™ when I was younger, so I invented a similar version to help locate lost pets and log important information."

The Pet Fire Alert Collar™, second place, was designed by Gail Eicken, a former New Jersey volunteer EMT, to provide a way for firefighters to locate hiding pets during a house fire or heavy smoke condition. The Pet Fire Alert Collar™ works in conjunction with any standard home smoke detector. When a household smoke detector alarm sounds, the Collar activates and produces a series of flashing lights and an audible sound. Gail and her husband Gary, a former volunteer firefighter, invented the Collar with lights and sound to alert pet owners and firefighters of the pet's location. The lights and sound will not stop until a button on the Collar is reset.

"My husband has been a volunteer fireman for 25 years and noticed how pets are often lost because they run and hide during a fire. This invention is worth my time and effort if it saves just one pet," states Eicken.

Third place winner, Brenda Cole, of Maryland, wanted to provide a way for pets to escape in the event of a house fire and created the Home-Alone Pet Fire Escape™.

"My worst nightmare is a catastrophic fire while I'm away, in which my cats and dogs have no chance to escape the house," confides Cole.

The Home-Alone Pet Fire Escape™ also works with any standard smoke detector, to create a pet fire release system. Cole's idea proposes the placement of the wireless device on pet doors, crates, or gate doors that would unlock and open the doors in the event a smoke detector sounds. There is no guarantee the pet would be able to escape the fire, but they would at least have a fighting chance if they weren't locked up.

"We take pride in being the leader in developing innovative products that strengthen the relationship between pets and their owners. We are constantly seeking new product concepts that can make a difference in the lives of pets and their owners. IdeaFetch was created to provide an easy outlet for pet lovers to share their creativity. It is also no surprise that all our winners focused on pet safety. Natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, are drawing national attention to the need for pet rescue ideas," offers Doug Grindstaff, vice-president of new market development (a.k.a. "Chief Petrepreneur") at PetSafe.

PetSafe worked with Ideas to Go, a Minneapolis based creative-process ideation company to create the IdeaFetch contest. The top 100 winners were selected from online votes by the public and a panel of celebrity judges and PetSafe engineers chose the final top 10 winners. Celebrity judges included: Dr. Karen Tobias, Host of "Barkitecture" on DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Network; Shannon Elizabeth, Actress; Josh Schuler, Lemelson-MIT, InvenTeams Grants Officer; and Bobby Simmons, Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball player.

About PetSafe

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, PetSafe is the industry leader in the management of pet behavior, offering pet training, containment, safety and lifestyle product solutions. PetSafe introduced the first do-it-yourself electronic fence to the pet market in 1991 and the first wireless fence in 1998. PetSafe's product line-up includes: kennels and electronic underground fences, bark control systems, a selection of remote training products, pet doors, pet feeders and a growing line of lifestyle products including toys and treats.

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