Petco Love is putting together a searchable database of cat and dog images to help owners find their missing pets. Roughly 1,000 shelters, rescues, and other pet industry stakeholders have already agreed to participate in the US, and they are now asking pet owners to come forward to register their pets with the system.
The platform itself has been dubbed Petco Love Lost, and it will use facial recognition to identify missing pets. Pet owners can upload a photo of a missing pet to learn whether or not that pet has turned up in a local shelter, while good Samaritans that find a missing pet can use the system to return the pet to its proper owner. In the latter instance, the owner would have had to register their pet’s information in the Love Lost database before the pet went missing.
According to Petco Love (formerly known as the Petco Foundation), the new system needs less than a second to generate a match. The organization noted that a full third of all pets will go missing at some point during their lives, and is hoping that Love Lost will make that experience less stressful and reunite pets and pet owners as quickly as possible. As it stands, most pet owners do not know what they should do when a pet goes missing, while the vast majority (88 percent) indicated that a searchable database would be a useful tool in such situations.
“Petco Love Lost can help millions of lost pets reunite with their families, protecting those animals from suffering, returning joy to their owners, and preserving critical space and resources at shelters for other animals in need,” said ASPCA CEO Matt Bershadker. “We are proud to support Petco Love on this project, which can also play a key role in helping families and their pets find each other following major natural disasters and emergencies.”
Petco Love Lost arrives several years after the 2015 debut of Finding Rover, an app-based solution that similarly uses facial recognition to build a searchable database of missing dogs. Like Love Lost, Finding Rover has been adopted by animal shelters and rescues all over the US. The New Zealand Companion Animal Register has also used facial recognition technology to help locate missing cats and dogs, while Alipay has used nose prints for insurance purposes.
April 27, 2021 – by Eric Weiss