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WilCo animal shelter using facial recognition technology to reunite pets with owners

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter has teamed up with app developers to help dog and cat owners find their lost animals more easily. (CBS Austin)

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter has teamed up with app developers to help dog and cat owners find their lost animals more easily.

"So currently we get about two percent of cats back to their families and about 28 percent of dogs back to their families," said Misty Valenta, Community Programs Coordinator at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

But now that the shelter has teamed up with Finding Rover, they're hoping that will change. The free service uses facial recognition technology to help reunite owners with their lost pets.

"Now it's searching the database to see if any missing dogs, match this photo," Valenta said.

To register your animal through the app or website, all you have to do is upload your pet's photo, enter any notes about them, and put in our contact information.

The shelter already takes pictures of each animal after they arrive, now those photos will automatically be synced with Finding Rover to help registered owners track down their pets more easily.

Once you've found your animal, you'll need to show proof. "So, you can use vet records, you can use pictures they have of them with their animal so that you know that you're reuniting that family to the right owner," Valenta said.

But, of course, there are some exceptions. "Sometimes, honestly, it's really just when that animal sees that person, that's all the confirmation we need," Valenta said.

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