Arizona teen helps families find their missing pets with drone technology

An Arizona teen is using his drone license to help others by reuniting loved ones with their four-legged family members.

Meet Maxence Pastore. In 2022, he saw a flyer for a missing cat and wanted to use his drone to help find it, but he had to be licensed for non-hobby use.

"Fast forward two years, I get my Part 107 license and I save up to get a more capable drone and that's how I started my business," Pastore said.

That business is TRACC Pet Recovery. He helps people across the Valley find their lost pets using drone technology.

"This drone does an amazing job of finding animals at night. I don't normally do my searches during the day because it's so hot. What I'll do is, I'll get this one up in the sky at nighttime, and it has a thermal camera so it'll actually get up there and I'll look for any heat signatures, like cats, dogs, anything moving really, it shows," Pastore explained.

He's already found a few lost pets and says reuniting people with their beloved animals makes for a great moment.

"Once they realize that their dog has been found, or cat, they just, they get super emotional, and of course happy," he said.

The teen said once he's old enough, he's hoping to expand his search abilities to help find missing people.

"I actually applied for some search and rescue groups, but I'm too young. This drone is actually used by public safety for search and rescue, for the fire department, police, so I wanted to volunteer and help, but I'm just too young," he said.

He hopes to do it in the future though.

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Maxence Pastore

A common time for pets to go missing is the Fourth of July, when pets get spooked by the fireworks and run away. Pastore says he wants local families to know he's available year-round for these searches.

He's a Mesa Fire Cadet graduate who says TRACC Pet Recovery is his way of combining his passion for serving the community and his passion for aviation.

He said scammers who pretend to have their own drone businesses create an obstacle for legitimate businesses like his and advises people to be very careful when communicating with supposed services.

He said warning signs include asking for payments online ahead of time and claiming to be able to fly at extreme heights, where the drone technology would not actually work well.