Anderson County taking part in pet facial recognition app

CLINTON (WATE) – Officials in Anderson County have announced a new name for their animal control unit, a new website, and that they are taking part in a new pet facial recognition system.

The department is now called the Anderson County Animal Care and Control, a change adding the word “care” that is designed to reflect an emphasis on animal welfare, education and partnership.

They are also taking part in Finding Rover, a facial recognition app for pets. Beginning June 1, every dog that enters their holding facility will be registered on the app, which allows people to search for missing dogs via a smartphone or computer.

The first step is for pet owners to register with pictures and information.

“Once his picture is pulled up, there’s a bar going across the middle. You want to line this up with the eyes, then you’re going to go to next and it’s going to facially scan. Then it’s going to ask for the location this animal was picked up on,” said ACACC Director Charles Porter.

The technology essentially scans the color and shape of the dog’s face, then compares it with similar dogs in the area. A narrowed down list of dogs that look similar then loads.

“Sooner or later it’s going to start hitting on animals just like a fingerprint database would,” said Porter.

He hopes it boosts ACACC’s reclaim numbers.

“In the sheltering business that’s your ultimate goal. You’re going to have a large number of animals coming in.”

The facility has 12 kennels and last year, they took in hundreds of animals. While they say they were able to reunite and adopt out more than 400 animals, that number just isn’t good enough for Porter.

“We’re working on a 100 percent, trying to find them a home,” he said.

The “Finding Rover” app is a tool that makes sense, just like micro-chipping and tags. That’s why Porter hopes everyone in East Tennessee takes the time to register their dog.

“At the end of the day you just want to try and help as much as you can,” he said.

More online: Finding Rover

Officials also say the new website, at www.andersonanimals.org, should help better connect citizens with information.

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