Pet owners used to have few options if one of their animals went missing. They could search the local neighbourhood, pin notices to trees and knock on doors. Far too many treasured pets disappeared never to be seen again.
Pets and New Technology
Naturally things improved with the advent of the microchip. These days, pets which are found can often be reunited with their owners quickly. But they must have a microchip fitted and they have to be found in time. Pets may not fare well away from their homes and can starve, sustain injuries, fall ill or simply get run over before they are discovered. Tracking devices are also available but these can be costly and are not appropriate for all animals.
Now, an innovative animal lover in Florida has launched a new service which is reuniting an incredible number of animals with their owners every month. He is using yet another form of technology to locate the missing animals – a drone.
Hendrick bought his camera drone specifically to look for lost pets. He teamed up with two local organisations and they search for up to 95 animals every month. These include cats, dogs, pigs, turtles and even calves.
A Quick and Efficient Service
The drone is able to look for the pets in inaccessible areas. It can see things from the air that people simply could not see from the ground and is able to cover large areas very quickly. It can scan many locations which it is difficult to reach on foot including bodies of water and it never gets stuck in traffic!
Support from Friends
Hendrick’s friends Gail Bass, Michelle French and Dawn DiBari have created a Facebook page, Loxahatchee Lost and Found Pets, and this now has over 10,000 users. The page and the drone are enabling the team to locate an average of 85 lost each month.
Searches begin at the location where the lost animal was last seen. The drone is fitted with an HD camera which enables Hendrick to view the footage in real time. The drone can stay in the air for 30 minutes and travel around 5 miles before the batteries have to be recharged. When an animal is located. Gail, Michelle and Dawn then have to go to the scene to retrieve the animals. This can involve crawling through woods and wading through water!
Kenneth Hendrick does not charge for the service and he is a very popular man with local pet owners. But his neighbours are not happy. They believe that he is intruding on their space despite the fact that he has repeatedly explained that he does not look at their properties. The drone merely has to cross over their land to begin a search. He also needs to practice constantly in order to fly the drone well. He has a license to fly the equipment and he is also a qualified pilot so he clearly knows what he is doing.
Kenneth Hendrick is offering an innovative and successful service. He hopes that his efforts can be replicated elsewhere.