Facial recognition being used to find missing pets

U.S. & World

A Texas animal shelter is using facial recognition software to help people locate lost pets.

“She’s absolutely a part of our family, and she has been since we adopted her,” said Jon Isom, who is looking for a lost cat. “You know we should treasure our family members, including our pets, because you never know what’ll happen,” Isom said.

Isom’s cat, Daphne, has been missing from his family’s home since Friday. He checked the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, but Daphne wasn’t there. But the shelter is trying to connect owners and stray pets through a new service called Finding Rover.

Misty Valenta, of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, said Finding Rover uses facial recognition software for cats and dogs.  

Every animal that comes into the shelter, like the two strays found after the storm yesterday, will have a picture place on the Finding Rover App and website. 

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

When the shelter used the technology to find a dog recently, they used a photo of the dog’s face. The database then searched if there were any missing dogs that matched the photo, Valenta said.

Similar-looking dogs came up during this search, but there was no direct match. 

“And you can see here, 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 on the 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 so they plan to add her picture of Finding Rover. 

The want to do whatever they can to get Daphne back, they said.

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

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