Nonprofit uses high-tech drones and search-and-rescue techniques to find lost pets

It’s like AAA for pets.

That’s the idea behind a new nonprofit that uses drones.

AFRS Emergency Drone Services launched the “FidoTracker.”

The organization was created by professional firefighters who fly heavy drones for a living, our news partners on WCPO report.

They apply the same principles to save human lives, to save lost animals.

It’s a bit like the old saying: a firefighter saving a cat from a tree.

“They are looking for any hope of being able to reunite with their pet,” said Todd May, founder of FidoTracker.

In this case, these firefighters use high-tech tools to scan more than half a mile of terrain at any given time.

“We started doing dog rescues on the side,” May said. “Human life would keep us away from dog rescues. So we wanted to find a way to develop the dog rescue part.

May launched the organization in 2021.

“Drone pilots normally arrive on site within 60 minutes,” he said.

May said they have a success rate of about 70 percent.

“Once we locate that heat signature, we zoom in on it to confirm that this is indeed the dog we are looking for,” he said.

Stephanie Daws has experienced this firsthand.

Lost in Cesar Creek State Park in late 2022, hours before subzero temperatures arrived.

“I thought there was no way they would survive the night,” Dawes said.

A call on Facebook led Todd to intervene.

“He called me at 3 a.m. and said, ‘Hey, I have some equipment’… they were in this thicket of brush, and we never would have been able to see them without the drone.” , Dawes said.

The service costs $8 per month, but the majority of pilots are volunteers.

“Public safety should be free, right? But it’s very difficult because we have a lot of bills as a nonprofit,” May said.

It serves Greene County and other areas of southern Ohio, but May hopes to expand.

“Every dog ​​owner is different,” May said. “Some of them, it’s a pat on the back and others. They are just tears of joy.

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