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RH-SPCA adopts Petco Love Lost facial recognition technology to help reunite lost pets with their owners

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Nearly one in three pets will get lost in their lifetimes, but Petco Love, the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA and nearly 900 other animal shelters across the nation are hoping a photo can bring those lost pets back home.

Petco Love Lost is a new, searchable national database that uses patented facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier. Uploaded photos of a missing dog or cat are immediately scanned to determine whether the lost pet is at a participating shelter or with a neighbor in the community.

“The shelters will post the picture of the found animals, and the owners post the pictures of the lost animals,” Tiffany Corbin, Marketing and Fundraising Manager with the RH-SPCA, said. “Using the software to match those pets and say, ‘This pet kind of looks like yours. Is it yours?’ It’ll say where it is and all the information about where you can find them. Then you can go to the shelter and actually see if it’s your pet.”

The more pet owners that use this tool, the more that “lost” will turn into “reunited.”

“It’ll match the photos of lost pets in the vicinity and even across multiple states because sometimes pets like to get out and they’ll make it a good distance,” Corbin said.

Go to lost.petcolove.org, sign up, then register your pet. Just upload a photo of your pet, then answer a few easy questions, like your pet’s name, age, gender, and microchip number, if they have one.

Huck Nawaz, the Executive Director at the RH-SPCA, said he hopes this is another tool they can use to help get pets home.

About 70% of the stray dogs that come into the RH-SPCA are reunited with their families, but the same does not go for cats.

“For cats, the percentage is only about 4 percent. The national average tends to be 2 to 3 percent,” Nawaz said. “Major reasons for that being that we are less inclined to put collars or tags on cats, so they’re unidentifiable.”

Nawaz said one of the best ways to ensure your pet does not get lost is to get them microchipped.

To learn more about Petco Lost Love or register your pets, click here.

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