Pizzeria puts flyers of lost pets on pizza boxes, encourages other shops to do the same

A New Jersey pizza shop has been receiving an "outpouring of support" for posting flyers of lost pets on its pizza boxes.

John Sanfratello, owner of Angelo's Pizza in Mantawan, New Jersey, said he first saw online last week the picture of a missing cat named Hazel. He said the owner was distraught.

"We had had our cat run away a few years back and we went through a similar thing. My kids were younger. There was a lot of crying, a lot of anxiety," he said.

"So I turn around, and I'm thinking to myself, I see the wall of pizza boxes..." he said, and that's when the idea came to him.

He compared it to the missing persons who used to be posted on milk cartons, "so why can't we do that with a pizza box?" he said.

So Sanfratello told the woman that if she'd like, she could bring a flyer in to help find Hazel.

But before he received her flyer, Hazel was found.

Still, that act inspired Sanfratello to expand the idea to help pet owners.

"Anyone in the Matawan/Aberdeen area who has a missing pet can drop off flyers for us to place on all our pizza boxes. No charge," a post on Angelo's Facebook page said.

The post quickly garnered a lot of attention, and "it's just been amazing," he said.

One of the people who came to the pizza place with a stack of flyers was a representative from The Seeing Eye, an organization that trains dogs to guide people who are blind. The organization is missing a 10-month old German shepherd puppy.

Sanfratello was more than happy to help, even going out to get more flyers when they ran out.

Another woman came into the pizza shop and was almost in tears about her missing cat, Opu.

Sanfrantello put her flyers on the pizza boxes, and "we've been doing that ever since."

"It's kind of taken a life of its own," Sanfratello said.

The main goal is to find pets, but another goal of this campaign is to "spread the word" and have other businesses take part in it in their own communities, the pizza shop owner said.

"If people do it on a grassroots level in every town, you can really make a difference," he said.

Angelo's Pizza has been in business for around 45 years, with the third generation now running it. Sanfratello said the only thing he regrets is not doing this sooner.

But he said, "We're going to keep doing it... as long as pets need to be found."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.