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Safety Turtle breaks ground in pet drowning prevention

Water safety alarm originally created for children now adapted for pets and adopted by pet owners

Ottawa, ON – Terrapin Communications, maker of Safety Turtle, today announced the start of a pet drowning prevention campaign.   The lockable Turtle wristband was introduced in 1998 as a last layer of protection of young children against aquatic injury.  By popular demand, a Turtle visor for seniors in aquatic physiotherapy and a pet version followed.    As a result, the company has set its sights on making this lifesaving product more accessible to pet owners. 

 “Many pet owners forget about the dangers that pools and other bodies of water can present for their pets,” said Bob Van Tongerloo, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.  CFHS believes that the Safety Turtle offers pet owners an option to protect their pets from drowning accidents while relaxing at home and exploring near waterways away from home.  CFHS applauds Terrapin for recognizing the need for a product that helps keep all members of the family safe near water.”

 Pools and Pets

Though largely unreported, accidental drowning of a pet in the family pool is common.  “Both the numbers and the circumstances of the pet drowning stories I’ve been getting over 5 years leave me in no doubt about this,” said Bob Lyons, President of Terrapin and inventor of Safety Turtle.  With a growing pet population there are roughly 58 million dogs and 62 million cats in North America and approximately 450,000 new pools per year, accidental pet drowning will continue to rise unless something changes.  Action is long overdue.”

Although healthy dogs and cats have an innate ability to swim short distances, escape from a pool may be a life and death struggle. Barking is sometimes difficult once the dog is in the water.  The untrained animal instinctively heads for the closest edge of the pool and tries to claw its way out.  Panic quickly leads to exhaustion. While animals can be trained to go the shallow end, if they exist, the steps may be too high for a smaller animal.  Vinyl-liner pools offer no grip to the animal, and often include only a vertical ladder, which is nearly impossible for most pets to climb. Builders are routinely called to repair foot-long holes through pool liners at the waterline caused by a front paw of the owner’s canine. 

 “When the solar cover is on a pool, it is one of the most dangerous times for pets. They either fall on the cover, or try to walk on it, and go under and can’t get back up,” said Gae Horrigan, dog and pool owner from LaMarque, Texas. “We know first hand the heartbreak people experience when they lose a pet to drowning.  It’s like losing your child.  Today, having the Safety Turtle is our way of trying to make sure this will never happen again to our beloved Westies, Duke and Tammy.”

 Boats and Pets

Pet life jackets are selling in record numbers because pets find so many ways to fall overboard when least expected.  But, depending on water temperature and visibility, chances of rescue may be small unless someone sees the pet fall in.

 About Safety Turtle for pets

The Safety Turtle system for pets consists of a small, color-coded Turtle sensor that attaches to the pet’s collar, and a Base Station.   When the pet falls or ventures into the water, an ear piercing alarm is instantly sounded at the house [or boat] from the Base Station – allowing the owner to immediately respond to the distressed animal.  One Base Station works with any number of pets having the same color of Turtle sensor.  Rain or ground moisture doesn’t set off the alarm.   

For more information, please visit

 ncorporated in Canada in 1998, Terrapin Communications is the sole owner and manufacturer of Safety Turtle.