WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- Stapling hand-made posters on telephone poles may be a thing of the past when it comes to finding lost pets.
"It's devastating, you know, it's the unknown," said Laura Page, who remembers when her childhood cat went missing. "Where are they? Are they OK? Is someone taking care of them?"
The long and stressful journey resulted in a reunion for Page, who is now the Senior Operations Manager at Brandywine Valley SPCA. But other families were not so lucky.
Thankfully, her no-kill shelter is implementing new strategies to make those reunions more frequent.
Iterating on engraved tags, tattoos, and microchips, the creative minds behind Finding Rover are introducing facial recognition into the fray.
This state-of-the-art technology is being distributed across the nation. Thanks to Brandywine Valley SPCA's latest partnership, it will be ready to serve families in West Chester, Chester County, Delaware County, the state of Delaware, and beyond.
Pet owners can upload a photograph of their furry friend to FindingRover.com. Notably, users can upload photographs of both lost and found pets to make matches in the system.
"Every animal that's found and brought to one of our shelters is cross-referenced against this database in hopes of finding their original family," said Walter Fenstermacher, Director of Programs at Brandywine Valley SPCA.
Fenstermacher says BVSPCA has a 37% reunion rate among lost pets compared to the national average of 17%.
Pennsylvania's first no-kill open admission shelter, BVSPCA achieved a 96% live release rate on the more than 13,000 stray or neglected animals it treated last year.