GEORGETOWN, Texas — A lost pet can be hard on owners, so Williamson County is using facial recognition technology to help reunite them.
"Our main goal here is if a stray comes in, we don't want them to immediately go up to the adoption floor,” said Misty Valenta, community programs coordinator for the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. “We want them to go to back to their family who loves them."
That is where FindingRover.com comes in. The app matches pets with their owners through facial recognition from photographs.
Williamson County’s animal shelter is taking advantage of the app.
This is how it works.
You take a picture, report a found dog, choose a photo of the dog, list your location and enter your contact information.
Once you do that, the app analyzes the photo and brings up possible matches of dogs that have been found elsewhere in your area and may be a match.
You scroll through those possible matches, and if you think there is a match, you can select contact or match.
Shelter employee Daisy Birchard lost her cat Lily three years ago.
"I had some pretty serious surgery at the time before I lost her,” said Birchard. “She was my snuggle buddy. She stayed right there with me.”
She thinks facial recognition would help but has her doubts.
"I don't know if the facial recognition for the pets is going to be as accurate as it is for people,” said Birchard.
The shelter said they will not change their lost and found process.
"We're still going to microchip,” said Valenta. “We're going to still check microchips. This will just be an added layer.”
Williamson County will also still require another form of identification such as vet records or a picture of you and the pet before reclaiming it.
FindingRover.com can also be used for adoptions. For example, if you're looking for a specific breed of animal, you can use the app to locate that breed up for adoption in your area.