Local humane shelter using facial recognition technology for lost pets

Local News

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WTVO) — We all know pet owners who take countless photos of their furry friends. It can be amusing, annoying, and easy to make fun of–but those snapshots could come in handy one day.

New facial recognition technology is helping reunite lost pets and their owners. One local shelter is using this technology to find missing pets faster.

“Cutting edge technology, facial recognition technology, to help reunite pets and their owners, their families,” described Katie Swedlund, the developmental director for the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin.

It’s an innovative technology to find lost dogs and cats. Petco Love, the non-profit foundation for PetCo uses a photo of your pet and cross-references with animal shelter databases around the country.

Swedlund believes the technology can provide a boost to help with their return-to-home rate for lost pets.

“This is one of those tools that’s going to help us do that because it’s going to bridge a gap between owner and Humane Society, that we sometimes struggle with,” Swedlund said.

Pet owners can create an account on Petco Love’s website. Then you upload a photo of your missing pet, which is immediately scanned. The picture stays active for five days.

“Uses that facial recognition technology to try and show you possible matches for your pet in different areas, in different organizations around you and then it gives you contact information on how you can get a hold of those organizations to try and see if that is your pet,” she explained.

According to Petco, 1 in 3 pets go lost in their lifetime. Swedlund says she is glad the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin is able to be a part of the solution.

“Their goal is to get all shelters that exist everywhere as part of it and build this to be the national database of lost and found pets and I’m really excited about being a part of that,” said Swedlund.

Right now, the database will be limited to cats and dogs.

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