PiP Facial Recognition Technology Helps Find ‘Chipped Pets

PiP Facial Recognition Technology Helps Find ‘Chipped Pets

As pet technology fans we read about ‘PiP’ Facial Recognition Technology and did a double take.

Wait….. Your pet’s mug shot can help locate them? A picture can help strangers report a found pet and make sure it finds its way home? Your cat as ‘convict 99’ with their own mug shot.

Yes. It’s as easy as taking a picture and registering your microchipped pet with NZCAR before they go missing.

Let us tell you about it.

Katie from Glogirly
© Image Credit D. Glovatsky @ Glogirly.com

Meet the ‘PiP’ Facial Recognition Software

First of all, you may not need a picture quite as elaborate as Katie’s above to make PiP work! A plain pic like Miranda’s (below) is just as helpful. Just think, a facial recognition algorithm that was initially developed for humans took at unexpected turn into animal territory and we all benefit!

PiP Facial Recognition the latest pet recovery breakthrough NZCAR has rolled out. This is cutting edge technology at the service of pet owners and it can also be accessed through the NZCAR linked web site LostPet.co.nz.

‘PiP’ is the most advanced Pet Facial Recognition Technology available at the moment, and it is revolutionising the process of finding and reuniting families with lost pets here in New Zealand. It’s a photo recognition search engine.

PiP Facial Recognition from NZCAR

Why is PiP important for Ordinary People Like Us?

One of the best and most important features of ‘PiP’ is that is mobile capable technology and you do not need a microchip scanner. Maybe this isn’t a bad thing as some of those scanners are heavy!

The really good part? If you find a missing pet ‘PiP’ means you can help return them home. You take a picture of the pet you you have found after making sure it is not a new pet who has moved in locally.

  • You can take a picture and add it to lostpet.co.nz. PiP will do the rest.
Facial recognition for cats
Jack is chipped and about to be added to the NZCAR PiP register. © Image Credit: (FB) Michelle at Kokoro

Who are NZCAR?

OK let us give you a lightening quick micro history in case the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR) is a new name to you.

In 2007 NZCAR the New Zealand Companion Animal Register realised that we needed our own country based database for microchipped companion animal repatriation.  Before this the data was hela in Australia, not great for NZ pet people. NZCAR set about establishing a missing pets partnership with some of New Zealand’s major organisations.

  • New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc. (NZCAC)
  • New Zealand Veterinary Association Inc. (NZVA)
  • The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Inc (SPCA)
  • NZVA Companion Animal Society (NZVA CAS)
  • New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC)
  • New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc. (NZCF)

Profits from the established database go to a dedicated Trust, with representatives from each stakeholder meeting regularly to consider funding requests and to oversee the fund’s management.

NZCAR works with 98% of vets and rescues and the $15 registration fee is a one-off charge for the life of the animal – there are no annual costs or worse – additional fees when your pet is lost. The registration fee makes you a ‘registered user’ and you have access to all the help NZCAR can give. Over 600,000 animals are registered on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.

NOTE: Adding ‘PiP’ Facial Recognition costs another $30NZ for pre-registered pets and you can do it at the Pip App Page.

You have a cat or dog, or goat or rat or... You NEED to know about PiP #Pet #facialrecognition in #NewZealandClick To Tweet

How NZCAR and PiP Get Pets Back Faster

Growth in the microchipping of pets is increasing in New Zealand. It is actually a legal requirement for dogs and may become so for cats some time in the future but a lot has to be done in relation to community cats and ferals before this takes place.

How do you, as a registered user’ flag your pet as missing?  This is easy to do. I found out because this week I went to make sure all of our cats’ details are up to date for this blog post! You type in your pet’s microchip number and, once your email is confirmed you can access the page with all your chip details.

  • Tick the notification box which is clearly indicated in red
  • This flags your pet as missing for NZCAR staff
  • A ‘PiP’ lost pet alert can autogenerate a lostpet.co.nz alert
  • and also be added as a Neighbourly notification.

PiP Facial Recognition

If you have ‘PiP’ Facial Recognitionhere;s what happens

After a notification arrives at NZCAR, images of found pets are loaded into the PiP application, analysed and matched with pictures of missing pets nearby to see if one matches your missing family member.

Agents such as vets within a 10 km radius are also notified your pet is missing. For rural pets are sent to the three nearest agents.If a missing pet is taken to a veterinarian, identification is almost immediate.

You can report a found pet at the Pip App page, or Lost Pet.

Miranda Cat Selfie Self Portrait
Are you a cared for pet? A chipped pet?

But I Can’t Get Online?

Even if a pet has a microchip, remember that its owner may not be able to access the internet. For these pet owners NZCAR is available by telephone by calling 0800 LOSTPET. This is a freephone service.

The Facebook Touch

The ‘PiP’ system allows NZCAR staff to monitor lost and found posts on Facebook and import photographs for comparison. Critically, you as page or post owner needs to give permission for them to access your image. This means you should remember to do adjust a picture’s setting if you have flagged your pet as missing with NZCAR.

How Do I Get ‘PiP’ Facial Recognition?

Registrations for the NZCAR “PiP” Facial Recognition in New Zealand began in December 2017 and are open now. Costs for PiP can be broke down as follows:

  • $15.00 – standard NZCAR microchip only registration that places your pet on the database.
    $30.00 – Upgrades your existing NZCAR registration to “PiP”
    $45.00 – New to NZCAR microchip registration combined with “PiP” facial recognition.

One great thing is about PiP and NZCAR is that they don’t suddenly increase the price if you register your pet and join PiP after a pet goes missing. The cost is the same and it is worth the investment.

NOTE: If you flag your pet as missing, a notification appears in the staff admin panel, and the system itself looks for possible matches so things start happening immediately.

I spend a lot of time researching online for Dash Kitten blog, and have looked at the NZCAR web site and LostPet.co.nz. They are both really good web sites and will give you all the information you need.

If you do need to get in touch with NZCAR :

  • General enquiries or address updates & no missing pet, please ring during office hours. 8.30 – 5 p.m. Mon-Fri 0800 LOSTPET
  • After hours NZCAR only has emergency staff on duty, and as they are working remotely they may not have full access for all enquiries.
  • For lost pet support you can call their 0800 567873 number in the evenings and weekends to speak to the on-call support staff. 5.00pm-Midnight Weekdays, 8.30am-Midnight Weekends
  • Message service From Midnight to 8.30am NZCAR offers a message service. Your call will be returned the following morning.
‘PiP’ Facial Recognition image
Have you Lost and pet? Have you Found a pet? Use LostPet.co.nz

Missing Pets

What You Can Do

We have a lot of dogs and cats in our area. Dogs have registration tags clearly visible and often have an owner’s ‘phone number and/or an address.

Local communities on Neighbourly or Facebook often have a lost and found pets section. This can be great for an immediate hit in your local area. NZCAR even has a lost pets poster you can customise with your own details and pictures then print off.  

Specific Cat Search Advice

Cats can be a bigger challenge and alongside your NZCAR PiP notification, and the advice from NZCAR, we recommend a web page by a lady called Kay Albrecht which cat owners will find really helpful.

I quote a few words from her important post because this really matters to cat owners. The post has a lot of important insights:

“…….social media posts and (bright) neon posters should be a supplement to a targeted search in the immediate area of where the cat disappeared. Most often this involves an aggressive, physical search of a cat’s territory. And yes, that means looking under and in every conceivable hiding place in your yard and in your neighbors’ yards!” – Kat Allbrecht

Found Pets

There is a lot of good advice for people who find pets on the NZCAR website.  It covers pets on your property. The unhappy effects on another family if you ‘think you will keep it’. and it also covers the important issue of finding a dead pet. Yes, this matters. As a pet owner the words on the web site hit home.

there is most likely still an owner who would prefer to know than keep worrying

We would want to know. It would be really hard for us but my family would rather know than live with endless uncertainty.

What Pets does the NZCAR accept as ‘chipped?

We have covered lost pets from the cats and dogs perspective and I can hear the other pet owners going ‘Hey! What about me?”

There is a large range of animals you can chip with NZCAR. If your animal is a family member, valuable, or even used as part of your work, like an alpaca who provides fibre for yarn, or a cow on a lifestyle block. They can be accepted on to the database.

  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Cows
  • Dogs
  • Deer
  • Emu
  • Goats
  • Horses
  • Llamas
  • Ostriches
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Sheep
PiP Fcial Recognition (c) Jacques_Palut
WAIT!?!?! I can be microchipped?

PiP Chips and Positives

One particular event hit home with us all in New Zealand and it showed the power of the chip, even before Pip Facial Recognition arrived. The earthquake in Christchurch in 2011. This tragedy affected humans and their pets.

NZCAR provided a freephone 0800 missing pets number for all pet owners to help locate missing pets. Owners of chipped and un-chipped could use the service. They managed to help get 25% of non-chipped pets home in two or three days. If the pet was chipped they managed to reunite 85% pets and owners in a matter of two or three hours!

Chipping Your Pet

All of our cats are chipped and one by one we are adding them to PiP. Microchipping is simply part of us being responsible pet people and we urge everyone to try and get your pet chipped when you can.

Local authorities sometimes have cut price or free chipping so check online or ring them up. The SPCA and animal charities often provide spay and neutering services as well. Oh and your cat is spayed – right? You can find out a lot of the information about chipping online, via neighbourly or your local vets.

  • One FINAL TIP: Don’t forget to tell NZCAR when you FIND your pet as well!

We packed a lot of information into our PiP post but we know Kiwi pet owners need to know this stuff, and where to find it! What do you think is the most important thing to remember when your pet is lost?

Marjorie and the
Dash Kitten Crew

Dash Kitten Owner Marjorie Dawson

  1. Facial recognition for our pets?! If someone would have told me 20 years there would be such a thing one day I’d laugh in your face. I think this is wonderful. I’m in the USA but think it’s wonderful that in New Zealand there are laws in place to chip pets to help further ensure pet who are lost get reunited with their owners. Hmm what do I think it the most important tip when it comes to a lost pet? Aside from a chip, I think keeping your contact information updated is a must. When I used to volunteer at another organization for cat adoption, we would get a number of strays due to the animal being lost and the owners information being outdated/unavailable to reach. So sad.

  2. What a terrific service, you are so lucky in NZ to have this! I also applaud NZ for requiring pets to be microchipped. I really think that helps encourage more responsible pet ownership. I remember hearing about a company in the US that was starting a facial recognition service, but they were targeting shelters – I don’t think shelters are the big client base for the service, they usually don’t have the funds for it, but pet parents often do! Thanks for sharing this.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  3. We microchip because it’s mandatory for many of the countries we visit. One thing I am always saying to people is to remember to register the chip! on its own it is a lot less effective. I’d personally LOVE to see one single international data base. One that would work no matter what country we happen to be in.

    Facial recognition is an interesting addition!

  4. It is a legal requirement in the UK for dogs to be microchipped, sadly (and unbelievably) it is not a requirement for a vet to scan a new dog/cat coming into them. There also seems to be so many dogs that are lost and then found, with a chip but no up to date details on the chip. Schemes like this help everyone reunite pets with their rightful owner and stops so much distress to owners.

  5. Cool technology. I hope it becomes more widespread. Mr. N is chipped and I have them check his chip every now and then because apparently his previous chip either migrated or it was never put in properly. And it wouldn’t come up on the scanner.

  6. Really cool technology! I know people forget to update their microchip information, so this seems like another safeguard to make sure a pet gets home to the right people.

  7. This is an awesome idea we need this PIP recognition software in the USA. All my pets are chipped but this is an extra safety measure. Loving all the pics and the kitty Katie mug shot is hilarious.

  8. That is a fantastic idea. Sound genius. The main question with any such things, though, is how widely known and used it is. Which can be a problem with some microchips as well; if the scanners don’t accommodate them.

    1. I believe NZ has only two main microchip scanners and NZCAR has distributed over 650 scanners free to organisations throughout the country to help scan pets which is a help. They also attend fairs to publicise the value microchipping and the new PiP Facial Recognition.

      We hope we are helping get word out too.

  9. What a fantastic idea and am going to read up more about it as my biggest fear is an earthquake happening when I am not at home although Layla is chipped. Thanks for sharing this awesome post and new innovation with me

  10. That’s quite an amazing system, never heard of such a thing before. I love how so many organisations are involved to help reunite missing pets with their families. Technology has really advanced, so we no longer have to rely solely on hanging up flyers. Any avenue is worth exploring when a pet goes missing.

  11. Wow, I never realised that such a great system existed. But now you describe it, it makes perfect sense that it should and great that it is so accessible too, and easy to use. I can’t see a down side to this, for as companion carers, we all should have every means to keep our precious pals safe and sound.
    Another great article, thanks for sharing

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