Advancements in facial-recognition software have shown many practical applications, from locating fugitives to securely unlocking your cellphone.
But the potential benefits go beyond identifying people, as a growing number of animal shelters across the U.S. have recently realized.
KSAZ in Phoenix reported that one area shelter is the first in the city to combine forces with an online tool called Finding Rover.
The software allows owners of missing animals to upload a photo to compare against a database of animals left at participating facilities.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control’s Jose Santiago said the new resource could make all the difference for families in the area.
“Basically, if it sees a dog that looks similar to yours, it’s going to pull up that picture and it may be the answer people are looking for with their lost pets,” he said. “They can easily say, ‘Oh my god, that looks just like my dog.'”
Not only is it helpful for owners looking for their missing pets, Santiago said it can also help alleviate the overcrowding of shelters in the communities where it is in use.
“Everyday we get in anywhere from 80 to 100 lost or stray animals, so something like this in place is vital for us because it’s going to help clear up that kennel space that we need and potentially find animals their homes again.”
According to The Olympian, about 400 shelters across the U.S. are currently using the Finding Rover program.