Eye in the sky: Drone pilot uses thermal technology to rescue missing pets across the tri-state area

News 12 Connecticut’s Jeff Derderian met with Mike Coyne to learn more about how drone searches are changing the game.

Jeff Derderian and Robyn Karashik

Feb 16, 2024, 10:44 PM

Updated 54 days ago

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A drone pilot from New York is helping families across the tri-state find lost dogs using thermal drone technology. News 12 Connecticut’s Jeff Derderian met with Mike Coyne to learn more about how drone searches are changing the game.
“I’ve always had that dream of being the eye in the sky,” said Coyne.
He said he uses a DU1 3T, which costs nearly $8,000. It’s a thermal drone that picks up body heat, which makes it easier to spot a missing pet in the woods or streets. Coyne said it’s his life mission.
“It's pretty much what I do it for, that happy moment,” said Coyne.
Coyne has found about 40 missing dogs in the last year, two of which were from Connecticut.
He found Dexter, from Westport, thanks to the technology that spotted him from up above. Coyne was able to give Dexter’s owner a huge sense of relief.
“It was out for about 48 hours, very few sightings there was just one sighting right after it got out, and then the following day I was able to find it three-quarters of a mile away,” said Coyne.
He also found Chief the greyhound and brought them safely back home to Ridgefield.
Coyne does most of his work as a volunteer with the nonprofit organization Connecticut Dog Gone Recovery. He takes donations to help pay for gas, his time and new equipment.
Despite all the great work Coyne has done to rescue these animals, he was actually allergic to dogs growing up. He said he couldn’t go near one for years. Luckily, that allergy passed.
News 12 asked Coyne if he can use the drone to find missing cats as well. He said he could but it would be more difficult. Cats like to hide under things whereas dogs will walk around freely.
Experts say you should ask any drone pilot how much experience they have finding lost dogs and the kinds of locations they work with before you send them any money.
For more information on using drone technology to find a lost pet, you can visit Coyne’s website.


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