Shelter using facial recognition app to help reunite lost pets with families

Posted at 4:38 AM, Oct 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 00:41:47-04

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TX (KXAN/CNN) - A Texas animal shelter is using cutting-edge technology to help people locate lost pets.

They’re using facial recognition software.

Jon Isom's beloved cat, Daphne, has been missing from his family's North Austin home since Friday.

"She's absolutely a part of our family, and she has been since we adopted her,” Isom said of Daphne. "You know, we should treasure our family members, including our pets, because you never know what'll happen.”

He checked the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

Daphne wasn't there, but the shelter is trying to connect owners and stray pets through a new service called “Finding Rover.”

"It is facial recognition software for your cat and dog,” said Misty Valenta with the shelter.

Every animal that now comes into the shelter will have a picture placed on the “Finding Rover” app and website.

Valenta said the app can search through a database “to see if there’s any missing dogs that match” a photo.

"If you lost a dog and you want to add a reward, you can do that, as well,” she said.

The shelter is encouraging people to join this free service to improve the odds of finding furry friends.

"Currently we get about two percent of cats back to their families and about 28 percent of dogs back to their families,” Valenta said.

The Isom family wants Daphne back in their arms, so they plan to add her picture to “Finding Rover.”

“It's been really hard, and we really hope she comes back,” Isom said.

The shelter said it will still need proof of ownership before giving an animal back even if the “Finding Rover” service comes back with a match.

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