Leander wins Texas Municipal League award: Animal Services program recognized

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Leander’s “LPD Social Media Reunites Pets” program was recognized by the Texas Municipal League.

On Oct. 5, city representatives from around Texas gathered for the annual Texas Municipal League Conference held at the Austin Convention Center. The annual event is designed for city leaders and staff to meet and discuss trends and issues affecting municipalities across the state. It is also an opportunity to recognize achievements by local governments that have a positive impact on the community. 

This year, Leander was one of 10 cities recognized for achievements with a TML Excellence Award in the Communication Programs category. Awards are issued in this category for innovative and effective methods used by cities to communicate with citizens and customers. This award was given to Leander due to the Leander Police Department Animal Services’ program that was developed to increase the number of pets returned to local families and reduce the number of pets transported to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.

“I am very impressed with our Animal Services officer’s initiative,” said City Manager Kent Cagle. “This is the type of initiative and creativity we love to see in all of our employees.”

If the traditional methods of identifying lost animals with tags and microchips fail, the department’s Animal Services unit uses social media to reunite lost pets with their owners. Photos and relevant information about lost pets are shared on the police department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. To keep followers engaged, the Animal Services officers take to social media to show off the lost pets, which has proven to be very effective. 

 “The pets we post usually return to the owner 90 percent of the time within a day,”  Stambaugh told the Hill Country News earlier this year.

This project, which was self-initiated by Animal Services Supervisor Edna Stambaugh and Animal Services Officer Leslie Wilson, not only returns lost animals, but has reduced sheltering costs and increased community engagement. 

“I am very proud of Supervisor Stambaugh and Officer Wilson for utilizing social media in a fun, creative and effective way to connect with our community,” said Leander Police Chief Greg Minton. “They deserve recognition for their

efforts.”

Mayor Christopher Fielder and Leander City Council members, as well as City Manager Kent Cagle, Asst. City Manager Tom Yantis, Police Chief Greg Minton and police department staff members attended the conference general assembly to accept the statewide recognition. 

The assembly is attended by about 2,500 city officials and staff members across the state. Although 10 cities are ultimately recognized, the City of Leander is one of five to receive recognition for cities with a population of more than

25,000.

 
 

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