MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Fourth of July may be fun for many of us, but it can be a scary weekend for dogs. More dogs go missing on July 4 than any other day of the year.

“With fireworks, we see an increase number of dogs that go missing run away and end up in our shelters,” Animal Humane Society operations director Kathie Johnson said.

That’s why this year the Animal Humane Society has a new tool they want dog owners to know about. All you need is your smart phone.

“I looked at my wife and said if they can identify people using facial recognition, wouldn’t it be cool if you could identify an animal,” John Polimeno said.

Polimeno launched the app “Finding Rover” last year after having his own experience losing a family dog. He wanted dog owners to have the ability to search for their pet right at their fingertips.

The app searches a customized radius to find any dogs matching the photo of the missing one. If someone comes across a lost dog, they simply have to get a photo of it uploaded to the app.

“There’s a bark button to get them to look at the camera,” Polimeno said. “You snap a photo and that’s it.”

The app has a 98 percent match success rate, and it’s free.

“If I were to find a dog it would be a great way to locate the owners then,” dog owner Debbie Andreas, from Minneapolis, said. “That’s terrific.”

The Animal Humane Society says it’s still a good idea to have an ID tag on your dog in the event they ever go missing.

Finding Rover is available for both Apple and Android users. You must download the Finding Rover app and register your dog to have them be in the system.

Finding Rover will soon be available to help find missing cats next month.

Kate Raddatz

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