Facial recognition helps find lost pets

A West Texas animal shelter has begun using a new online service that uses facial recognition technology to help owners better identify their lost pets.

Grand Companions Humane Society in Fort Davis has partnered with Finding Rover, a free service that can search local shelters and surrounding areas to help users find their missing pets. Finding Rover uses the photo of the pet uploaded on their website to search local shelters, providing users with a list of lost pets matching the pet in the photograph.

“The facial recognition works like it does for humans, so any picture that a subscriber or user uploads to Finding Rover would be used to match the pet if it’s found,” Grand Companions Development Coordinator Chelsea Smith said.

The shelter in Odessa, Humane Society of Odessa, has not yet become familiar with Finding Rover, Humane Society of Odessa Office Manager Christina Taylor said, but they photograph all of the animals that are taken into the shelter. So anyone in Odessa who uses the website to find their pet would be shown if their pet was at the shelter.

Humane Society of Odessa and many other shelters and vets in Odessa do have technology to help find lost animals though. Owners can have their pets injected with a microchip, not to track the animal, but to provide contact information for the owner of the pet. That way, anytime a shelter finds a lost pet, they can scan the pet’s chip and get in contact with the owner.

“That’s always good for all pet owners to do,” Dr. Ann Wills at West Texas Emergency Vet Clinic said, “because collars can come off, so it’s a more permanent identification of that dog.”

Wills said pet owners can also have GPS trackers put onto their pet’s collar, but should the collar come off, it wouldn’t be of much help.

Smith said Grand Companions Humane Society also offers microchipping for pets, and that Finding Rover is just an added protection.

Anyone interested in using Finding Rover for better protecting their pet if they become lost can visit findingrover.com and register with their pet on the website.