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Loxahatchee man using drone to reunite missing pets with their owners

Posted at 6:17 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 23:01:38-04

In Palm Beach County, a group is using technology to help pet owners in one of the scariest situations—losing a pet.

Loxahatchee Lost and Found Pets is a non-profit that uses a Facebook page to reunite lost pets with their owners.

Gail Bass created the page four years ago, and it's grown to a membership of more than 10,000 Facebook users.

Through the page, Bass and her friends Michelle French and Dawn DiBari help reunite an average of 85 lost pets with their owners every month in the Loxahatchee area.

"When a post is made about a missing dog that needs help, or a cat, calves, it's everything that we reunite," Bass said. "Pigs, turtles—the community is always there."

But Bass says a lot of animals in the area still aren't found. For that reason, the group partnered with Kenneth Hendrick and his drone.

"I wanted to help out, because I have animals that I know what happens when they go missing," Hendrick said. "It's like one of your kids is gone, and you go crazy until you find them."

Hendrick uses a state-of-the-art drone that captures high-definition video, then uploads the video and shares it with the Loxahatchee Lost and Found Pets Facebook page. Anyone can review it, and help look for the lost pet, in case Hendrick missed anything.

Hendrick's drone can cover several miles in a short time, and it shows areas that couldn't be reached by foot. Hendrick says he often searches in wooded areas and near canals.

"You can cover more of an area quicker than you can walking or driving up and down a road looking for an animal," Hendrick said.

The idea of using a drone to help in search efforts is new. Hendrick has only been doing it for a few months.

"We hopefully can find pets quicker," French said, Because usually they run and you don't know which direction they went, so at least with the drone, you can cover a lot of area."

But to do so, it's important that pet owners are quick, too.

"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."

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