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'Finding Rover' App Helps Return Pets To Owners

Jerry Kenney

The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center is using new technology to help stray pets find their way back to their families.

On any given day there can be as many as 200 cats and dogs housed at the Animal Resource Center (ARC), and more than 10,000 animals can come through their doors in a year. Director Mark Kumpf says the numbers of animals they're housing are low right now but that’s about to change.

“Right now we’re running up to the Fourth of July and truly this is the busiest time of year for animal control, not only in Montgomery County but nationwide," he stated. "Fourth of July fireworks and pets are a bad mixture.”

The center says about half the animals they take in are returned to their owners, or adopted out to new ones. They’re trying to increase that number with a new smart-phone app and website that uses facial recognition technology.

"Finding Rover" was created by John Polimeno with help from the University of Utah.

John Palimeno (center) with his wife and ARC Director, Mark Kumpf.

Polimeno says, “[They] spent about a year developing the algorithms that really allow us to be able to identify a dog or a cat with ninety-eight, ninety-nine percent accuracy by just taking a picture with a mobile phone.”

Finding Rover can be used by people who have lost or found an animal.  It will also match photos with more than 90 shelters nationwide. Shelters are uploading new photos every hour.

Montgomery County Animal Resource Center is the first shelter in Ohio to use the app.