Broward Debuts Pet Facial Recognition App

If your dog dashes out the front door and scampers out of sight, you'll appreciate a fresh — and free — tool to help bring the wayward pet home. Finding Rover is an app that uses facial recognition technology to match lost and found dogs. 

The software ideally simplifies the process of reuniting unidentified pets with their families. Say you find a beagle wandering alone in your neighborhood, with no collar. Snap her picture and the app performs a facial recognition search. If there's a match, the owner's information is shared, and a happy reunion occurs.

Broward Humane Society and Broward County Animal Care and Adoption are among an array of shelters nationwide partnering with Finding Rover. The shelters add pictures to the database of stray dogs coming in and also of dogs that are adopted out.

The facial recognition technology tested as 98 percent accurate, said Brandi Blankenship, Finding Rover's marketing and media director. The photo matches are based on a variety of factors, including distance between the eyes and distance between the nose and the eyes.

So far, the app is credited with about 1,200 dog-and-family reunions in the United States, Blankenship said. Similar software for cats is on the drawing board. 

The app also offers other functions, such as mobile alerts about lost and found dogs in a specific geographic radius and digital lost-and-found posters. Blankenship said the privately funded service is always going to be free for users.

Even if a dog is safe at home, pet owners may want to preregister with Finding Rover as a precaution by uploading a snapshot of their pooch. "We'll scan the unique features of your dog's face and keep it on file in case he or she ever gets lost," the Finding Rover website says. 

Access to the free app is offered via App Store, Google Play and the website

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