A survey of 1000 pet owners found that over a five-year period, 15% of them had lost their pets for an extended length of time. Of that group, 85% of these were recovered, with 79% of the reunions happening through neighborhood searches. That’s a really good number, but if you’re the pet parent searching for your missing furkid, you need all the help you can get. In an effort to boost reunions, a group of Florida animal lovers in Palm Beach County have brought new eyes to the skies – they’re using DRONES!
Through sharing and tagging, and lots of good old-fashioned legwork, the women who organize the 10,000 member Loxahatchee Lost And Found Pets Facebook group help reunite about 85 lost pets per month. Now they’ve gone airborne, partnering with fellow animal lover and local drone expert, Kenneth Hendrick, to help reunite more animals.
Hendrick told WPTV,
“I have animals and I know what happens when they go missing. It’s like one of your kids is gone, and you go crazy until you find them.”
Using his state-of-the art drone, Hendrick can fly over places that are hard to reach by foot, like woods and canals. The drone can scour tree and rooftops for fleeing felines. It quickly scans several miles. Hendrick then uploads his video to the Facebook page, where additional eyes help look for the missing pet. Says Hendrick,
“You can cover more of an area quicker than you can walking or driving up and down a road looking for an animal.”
Loxahatchee organizers Gail Bass, Michelle French and Dawn DiBari have only been using the drone for a few months, but they say it’s helped. Using this new tool, they’re hoping to find pets more quickly and be able to scour in different directions.
If your pet vanishes, the best thing you can do is immediately put the word out. “The minute that their animal goes missing, get on there and post it,” Hendrick said. “Every minute counts, and you have to get out there right away.”
With almost 120,000 drone enthusiasts on Meetup.com worldwide, one may be in your neck of the woods. Eric Njaa, the organizer of the San Diego Drone User Group, tells ShelterMe that “success depends on the location, whether it’s rural or urban.” That group would be willing to put the word out, and explore the possibilities of helping out pets in need and the people who are searching for them.