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‘Finding Rover’ app uses facial recognition software to locate missing dogs

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Anyone who's ever lost a dog knows how heart-wrenching it can be.  Owners will try almost anything to recover their lost pet, including flyers and rewards.  Now there's a new app that uses the latest technology to help families recover their four-legged friends.

An animal shelter is the last place you want to see your pet.  But if he or she does get lost, thanks to a new app called Finding Rover -- families have a new tool right on their smartphones to quickly find them, KSWB reports.

"Finding Rover is a facial recognition app," said Daniel DeSousa of San Diego County Animal Services.

Here's how it works.  Once you download the app to your smartphone or tablet, you take a picture of your pet and it's scanned into the system.

"The public can use it to register their dog, and if the dog ever runs away, they can post that their dog has been lost," said DeSousa.

Using facial recognition technology, the app searches through thousands of images of old and recently added pictures to try and locate your pet.

"It looks at eight different points on the dog's face. If the dog comes into us, we take the same kind of photograph and if that dog has been reported as lost, it makes that connection," said DeSousa.

Another feature -- the app will send alerts to be on the lookout for your dog to anyone in your neighborhood who also uses Finding Rover.

It also works in reverse.

"If you just see a dog running loose down the street, you can take a picture of it and it will still post it that way as well," said DeSousa.

In the last 10 days, several families have been reunited with their pets in San Diego due to the Finding Rover app.

The app is absolutely free and it takes just minutes to use. The developer said he created it because he wanted to make sure that pets would be reunited with their families.

"It's amazing to see anybody get reunited with their pet. It's a member of their family. We see people break down in tears just because they have been missing this family member for a day," said DeSousa.

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