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Over 7 million animals enter animal shelters each year, but only 10 percent make it back to their owners, reports NBC Bay Area. A new app aims to combat this problem by reconnecting lost dogs with their guardians.

The app, which is just six weeks old, is called Finding Rover. It uses innovative facial recognition software to search for matches in a user-submitted photo database of dogs. Dogs can be found by using either a preexisting photo to make a match or by taking a picture of a lost dog and submitting it to the database.

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Bay Area, California resident John Polimeno developed the app with the help of a Utah company, who perfected the facial recognition software for animals, reports 10 News.

“They’ve developed these algorithms that actually can identify a dog or a cat,” said Polimeno via 10 News.

This app has the potential to help thousands, even millions of animals each year. There are already 20,000 app signups that have been recorded and, so far, 170 dogs have been found and reconnected with their guardians, reports KOMO News. The app also has animal control workers buzzing about its release.

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“This technology is in a word, amazing!” said Dan DeSousa, deputy director of San Diego County Animal Services via 10 News.

Finding Rover is currently available for iPhone and iPads only. You can get the app for your Apple device here. An Android app and an internet site will be available early next year and a lost cat app is also in the works.

Image source: Dawn Endico / Flickr

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