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Free app uses facial recognition to find lost pets

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An animal shelter is the last place you want to see your pet.

But if he or she does get lost, thanks to a new app called “Finding Rover,” families have a new tool right on their smartphones to quickly find them.

“Finding Rover is facial recognition app,” said Daniel Desousa with San Diego County Animal Services.

Here’s how it works.

Once you download the app to your smart phone or tablet, you take a picture of your pet and it’s scanned into the system.

“The public can use to register their dog, and if the dog ever runs away, they can post that their dog has been lost,” Desousa said.

Using facial recognition technology, the app searches through thousands of images of old and recently added pictures to try and locate your pet.

“It looks at 8 different points on the dog’s face. If the dog comes into us, we take the same kind of photograph, and if that dog has been reported as lost, it makes that connection,” Desousa said.

And another feature — the app will send alerts to be on the lookout for your dog to anyone in your neighborhood who also uses Finding Rover.

And it also works in reverse.

Desousa said, “If you just see a dog running loose down the street, you can take picture of it and it will still post it that way as well.”

In fact, in the last 10 days multiple families have all been reunited with their pets in San Diego via the Finding Rover app.

The best part is: the app is absolutely free and it takes just minutes. The man who developed it did it because he wanted to make sure that all these dogs would be reunited with their families.

“It’s amazing to see anybody get reunited with their pet. It’s a member of their family. We see people break down in tears just because they have been missing this family member for a day,” Desousa said.

If the finding rover app doesn’t reunite a dog with its family, they stay at the shelter until they’re adopted. But the app literally takes two minutes to download, and it’s just another tool for families to find their lost dogs.