Drones: Helping Find Lost Pets With An Eye In The Sky

 

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.

Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 20 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the ShelterMe.tv family!

3 comments

  1. Natasha says:

    Just wandering if you know anyone who does this kind of thing in Burlington, Ontario. My Cat went missing 3 weeks today…. I would love if someone can help me find him…. using this technology!

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      Hi Natasha, so sorry about your cat! I checked the meetup.com site, and found a group in Ontario, but IDK if it’s anywhere near you. https://www.meetup.com/OttawaDrones/ There’s a contact link on that page for the administrator of the group. You might try sending them an email, which is how I contacted the CA group. Send them a copy of the story, so they have an idea of what you’re looking for. I don’t have any contacts there, but I hope they can help you.

  2. Mongoose218 says:

    Great idea, to use drones…..along with microchips, should really help a lot of lost or stolen pets get home!

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