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Missing state police K-9 found safe in Ridgefield

Posted: Updated:
DANBURY -

A state police K-9 that went missing during a search and rescue operation was found safe in Ridgefield.

The bloodhound named Texas went missing during a search Wednesday evening for a man who went missing in Wooster Mountain State Park in Danbury.

Police say his handler was going up a steep hill during the search when he lost his footing and let go of the leash. By the time the officer made it to the top, Texas had caught a scent and ran off. He was gone for 36 hours, until volunteer Jeff Kehlenbach found him in Ridgefield.

Kehlenbach works for Homeland Security and lives in Monroe. He was using his own ATV to search an area that hadn't been scoured yet and say at one point, he stopped and called Texas' name. That's when he heard a howl and followed the sound up a hill where he found Texas. He says the dog's leash had been caught in a fence.

When Kehlenbach found Texas, it was near Limestone Road in Ridgefield, but he had no idea where he was. So he waved down a driver, and that woman brought him and Texas back to Danbury, where they were greeted with cheers, applause, hugs and even some tears.

The K-9's handler, Officer Ed Anuszewski, became emotional when reunited with Texas, saying he couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.

Texas appeared to have survived two nights in the woods just fine, with no obvious injuries, but Anuszewski brought him to a veterinarian to be checked out.

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