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Facial recognition software helps reunite lost or missing pets

pet lost facial recognition.JPG
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 22:33:50-04

The nonprofit Petco Love has been a partner of Woods Humane Society for almost 20 years — both groups working to unite pets with forever homes. A revolutionary new way they are striving to meet that goal is with a facial recognition platform called Petco Love Lost

This new, free and easy-to-use website with a database of thousands of animals is helping reunite people with their lost pets.

Statistics show that 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime. That’s estimated to be over 10 million pets a year. But with Petco Love’s facial recognition technology, one click could bring them home.

"This is brand new technology that Woods has just recently opted into and we're so excited to now join a database with 100,000 lost or missing animals to help them find their homes," said Emily L’Heureux, Director of Development for Woods Humane Society.

You may have heard of the app called Finding Rover. After originally investing in the idea, Petco Love decided last year to buy, revamp and re-brand the platform, hoping to reach an even wider audience.

Now partnering with 1,800 shelter organizations across the nation, the platform is helping to reunite over 1,000 lost or missing pets a month.

"Anyone that loses a pet can upload a photo for free to and Petco Love Lost searches our national database to make sure the lost pet isn’t at a participating shelter or with a neighbor, so neighbors can use this too," said Jennifer Perez, Public Relations & Internal Communications Manager for Petco Love.

It works vice versa. If you find a pet, upload a picture. Someone might be scouring the streets for them.

This new high-tech way to reunite with your pet has already been a success here on the Central Coast.

"Just a week ago we were able to reunite a dog that came through our shelter named Oynx with his original family that came from the valley. So it was wonderful to see that in action," said L’Heureux.

"The technology looks very closely at different features of the pet. So it uses pet facial recognition, the fur, and things like the coloring to make an exact match with your lost pet," said Perez

While the platform just celebrated its one-year anniversary, it's already made huge strides, but they aren’t done yet. Petco Love has issued an industry challenge for animal shelters to reunite more than 50% of stray animal intake by 2024. Current estimates suggest that only about 32% of lost pets that enter shelters make it home.