Online tool reconnecting missing pets with parents

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SOUTHERN COLORADO — Losing a pet can be stressful and painful for families but innovative technology is helping pet parents track down lost animals. Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is joining forces with Petco Love.

Petco Love is a national nonprofit working to reunite lost pets with their families should they ever go missing. Once you upload a picture of your missing dog or cat to petcolovelost.org, it’s immediately scanned through nearby shelters and animal organizations to see if your pet is there.

“Some animals we do rely on the public, we do rely on our lost reports to find matches with animals that we otherwise would have no way of knowing where the animal belongs,” said Andrew Barragan, Admissions Supervisor for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

The website is easy to use whether you’re missing a pet or found someone’s furry friend. If you find an animal that isn’t yours, post it on the website and the facial recognition tool still matches up parents from nearby communities who are looking for their pet.

“We have had a few matches but it’s definitely needed for the public to really give us lots of data when it comes to just participating in it. It’s a new thing so the more people participate, the more information we gather on how it’s working and the more we can improve on it,” said Barragan.

The Humane Society said one in every three pets goes missing in their lifetime and this tool is the first of it’s kind to get missing pets home faster.

“Last year we had about 9,000 animals that were brought into the shelter as strays and we had about 3,800 that were actually returned to their owner,” Barragan explained.

The Humane Society said since a lot of animals that end up there don’t have a home, knowing the ones who do is the first step to getting them back with their family. And it can help the animals who don’t have a home get adopted too.

Petco Love Lost is a new, searchable national database that uses patented facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier. This simple-to-use tool will be easily accessible to participating animal organizations nationwide, as well as any pet parent or the person who finds a lost pet. 

“We see first-hand how quickly a pet can go missing, whether they were curious, following a scent, wandered through an open gate or became scared during a storm,” said Duane Adams, President & CEO at HSPPR. “We work tirelessly to care for pets, whether they’re awaiting their forever home or lost and need help getting back to their families. There’s nothing more rewarding than reuniting families with their beloved pets and with Petco Love Lost, we’re confident it can lead to many more happy reunions, right here in the Pikes Peak Region.”

“We know that one in three pets goes missing in their lifetime, an estimated 10 million pets each year, and we’re not ok with that,” said President of Petco Love, Susanne Kogut. “That gives us 10 million reasons why we created Petco Love Lost, because we believe nothing is more important than keeping people and pets together for a lifetime of love. Together with HSPPR, our goal is to keep pets where they belong – at home, with you.”

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