Two animal services officers have found a creative way to get lost animals back into the arms of their owners. The officers' social media posts are attracting a following well-beyond the scope of their patrol area.
For this week's Crime Watch, FOX 7's Noelle Newton travels to Leander where strays are family.
Leander Animal Services Officers Edna Stambaugh and Leslie Wilson operate on a policy of love and compassion. Today's first call is to rescue a bunny that somehow got separated from its family.
The bunny looks to be six weeks old which is still too young to care for himself. The women inspect the yard where he was found and are able to reunite him with a sibling.
"Dealing with animals, that's what makes my heart sing,” said Officer Leslie Wilson.
Cute or dirty, large or small, these women treat the animals they find with such kindness. Lately, they have made their efforts known through Facebook.
They post photos of each stray to increase the odds of finding the owner. What's unique is Leslie's smiling face and the kisses she's rewarded with. It's like the animals are human. Leslie lets the dogs ride shotgun to lessen anxiety.
She told us about one of the success stories.
"The good news is the owner saw us on Facebook and he called me on my phone. His name is Mangus and he went back home. He never sat at the shelter for more than an hour. He was probably home before I was back home."
Leslie estimates one dog she picked up wandered around for a week before someone spotted him.
"He was pure mats. Just matted. Everywhere matted. I couldn't tell if he was male or female,” said Wilson.
Then, she showed us a photo of how the dog looks today. He is groomed.
"I just get so much satisfaction by seeing that now he's taken care of and he's not scruffy anymore,” said Wilson.
The reunions are happening within hours. The women have created such a following that they will get phone calls from curious people wondering if the dogs are okay. They now post updates.
"Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we won't, but there's always someone on the back end that watches our post and that wants to give a loving home to an animal that we've just shown on our post,” said Wilson. "All of the pets are equal to us here at LPD."
They want you to join their efforts by going to their Facebook page: Leander PD
"I hope they get on our Leander Facebook page and like us and high five us and share us and get us out there. That's what really makes us successful,” said Wilson.
The bunnies were taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Once they are big enough to fend for their own, they will be returned to the wild.