TAVARES, Fla. — Trying to be a responsible pet owner, Joan Brinkley had her 11-year-old dog, Audie, implanted with a microchip and ear tattoo.

What You Need To Know

  • Finding Rover is app that allows shelters to scan lost animals

  • Picture is analyzed; details used to compare with info in database

  • Lake County Animal Shelter among several in country using tech

“I don't know what I'd do if I lost her,” she says. “I would do everything I could to find her.”

Finding Rover is the name of an online tool being used by several animal shelters throughout the country. Now, the Lake County Animal Shelter is using the technology to help find lost pets. 

“It's been around for a couple of years now and it's really helping people find their lost pets.”

Here's how it works. When a lost animal is taken to a shelter, the first thing they do is scan for a microchip implant. After a round of shots and gulp of medicine, workers take a picture of the pet.

The Finding Rover app requires a good picture of the animal's face, which is uploaded to the website. The company's scanner technology can pick up minute variations in a pet's face.

After the animal is scanned and processed into Finding Rover, the next step is to add information.

Putting the app to the test, Lake County Animal Shelter scanned a hound dog that was found prowling for wild pigs in a swamp near Groveland. An app search hit on a match, and within minutes, Finding Rover had returned information about the dog and where it's currently located.

“It's free for us, it's free for the pet owner, and it's free people who stumble across a stray animal," said Whitney Boylston, the shelter's animal services director.