Local Humane Society adopts new facial recognition system to identify lost pets


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Pets go missing each and every day. A local Humane Society has partnered with a national service that will hopefully help more families find their furry friends again.

In 2020, the Humane Society of Washington County took in over 2,000 stray or potentially lost animals, with a majority of those being cats and dogs.

Now, they have partnered with Petco Love Lost, which is a new national database where people can upload photos of pets they have lost or have found to make the reunification process between pets and their families quicker and easier.

The database uses facial recognition technology to show potential matches of animals registered in their system. The database will scan the photo to determine whether the lost pet is at a participating shelter or with a neighbor in the community.

Noel Fridgen, the Development and Communications Manager for the Humane Society of Washington County, is excited to implement the new technology at the shelter. While she recommends local residents file a lost pet report with the shelter, the new partnership with Petco Love Lost offers more resources for pet owners if their pet happens to be taken to a shelter farther from their home.

“So when you lose a pet, we always recommend that you go ahead and file a lost report on our website, check out our stray gallery to see if your pet might be here,” Fridgen explained. “But now with Petco Love Lost, it’s getting taken to a whole new level. So when you upload your picture, it will automatically scan and let us know if an animal that matches your animal’s face is in our shelter and will be able to reunite you together.”

The new service launches on April 23, which is National Lost Dog and Cat Awareness Day.

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