Day: 1 October 2020
Searching for owners is now easier. Web search engine created by a FIT student helps returning lost dogs to their homes
A law stipulating that owners need to get their dogs tagged with an identification chip has been in force for nearly a year. That should help finding lost dogs and fighting illegal breeders. But a central register that would serve for this purpose is still missing. FIT student, Kristýna Zaklová, introduced a solution which can partially replace uniform register. Within her Bachelor's thesis, she created a web search engine called Komu patřím (Who do I belong to).
It can make the job easier especially for animal control, veterinarians, police and other people who need to identify a dog and its owner. The thing is, even if they manage to find out the chip number by using a reader, the battle is far from over - there is no central register in the Czech Republic, in its stead, there is about fifteen registers operated by private companies, so they have to search every one of them.
A solution was brought by a student of FIT who created a web search engine called Komu patřím. "The person who found a dog does not need to manually search individual registers. They only need to enter the microchip number in the search form and the search engine will find out whether the supported registers contain information on this entry on its own," explains Kristýna Zaklová. Her application also supports searching using tattoo numbers, pet passports, municipality-issued tags and Lysset tags. This makes her work unique.
Kristýna Zaklová worked on the solution for nearly a year. "I spent a lot of time surveying the current situation. Based on suggestion of my thesis supervisor, I also ascertained the situation in other countries. I always contacted someone living in the country to also learn the perspective of local inhabitants. I also wanted to specify users' requests as well as I could so that the final application would make their work easier and they would like using it," she describes.
Cynology is her hobby, dogs have accompanied her on her journey through life for over ten years. "So I was interested in the issue of tagging dogs for a long time. I took interest in Czech registers as soon as the amendment stipulating mandatory microchipping of dogs was approved. To this day there is no central register of animal owners, not even any official list of available private registers," she explains. On top of that, current legislation does not stipulate the obligation for owners to register the chips which makes the situation even more complicated. Therefore, the goal of Kristýna Zaklová's project is also to spread awareness of individual registers and the most popular manners of tagging animals.
The hardest part was to keep pace with the changes that were gradually coming. "The largest number of new registers appeared in late 2019 and early 2020. Some existing registers had undergone implementation changes so it happened a couple of times that some of the finished parts just stopped working overnight," FIT student recalls some of the difficulties she had to face during the development.
But today, her website is fully functional and gradually finds its users. It is visited by several hundreds of people each week. "I am glad to receive any feedback and, most of all, I am glad when the search engine fulfils its purpose. For example, I was recently informed by a veterinarian from a local clinic that she used the search engine while treating a found dog. Thanks to a registered chip and my search engine, the dog could be quickly returned home to its owners," describes Kristýna Zaklová.
She would like to establish co-operation with the two missing registers in the near future. The promised State central register for dog microchips should be created in 2022. "The question is whether it actually happens and how will the current registers react. But even if this project should serve the public for less than two years, I think the energy I invested in its development was worth it for every found dog who was or will be able to soon return home thanks to it," concludes Kristýna Zaklová with a smile.
She continues her studies at FIT in a Master's study programme and since September, she also works as a study advisor.
Author: Kozubová Hana, Mgr.
Last modified: 2021-02-02T17:15:20