Fayetteville animal shelter uses facial recognition app to reunite lost dogs with owners

Officials at the Lib Horn Animal Shelter of Fayetteville plan to use facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs with their owners.

The shelter recently partnered with Finding Rover, a free smartphone app that lets a pet owner scan the unique features of their dog’s face and then upload the information to keep it on file in case the dog gets lost.

The way the app works is simple: When a lost dog is found, a person can use the app to snap a photo which will trigger a facial-recognition search to bring up the dog’s name, address and owner, so that the pet can be returned home.

“We are continually looking for ways to reunite lost animals with their owners,” said Anthony Rankin, Fayetteville Animal Services Programs Manager. “Utilizing the Finding Rover app is another avenue to help us do just that.”

Currently when an animal is picked up or turned in at the shelter, staff looks for identification tags, scans each animal for a microchip, and reviews the shelter’s citizen-reported lost-and-found log. If a match is made, the owner is contacted. The intake process will now include taking and uploading a photograph to Finding Rover.

Rankin said the new technology is not a replacement for any existing methods used to identify a pet’s owner.

“We’re suggesting owners use this app in conjunction with other forms of media such as lost/found ads in newspapers and on other social media sites like Craigslist and Facebook,” he said.

Rankin said the shelter hopes to also take advantage of new cat facial recognition software that is expected to be released in late 2016.