UPDATED: DANBURY/RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — The missing Connecticut State Police bloodhound was found with his leash entangled in a fence near a pond in Ridgefield on Friday morning, according to multiple media and police reports.
His rescuer was Jeff Kehlenbach, who was identified by state police as a special agent with U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Kehlenbach, who was out searching on an ATV, found the dog, a 3-year-old bloodhound named Texas, off Limestone Road at about 10:20 a.m. Friday and freed him.
Laura Stabell of Ridgefield spotted the pair on the side of the road and gave them a ride back to troopers at the command center at Wooster Mountain shooting range on Sugar Hollow Road in Danbury.
As Stabell said, “I found the guy that found the dog!”
Kehlenbach, a former police canine dog handler, was part of the large crew of volunteers helping police and fire officials search for Texas. The dog had gone missing Wednesday night during a search of the woods in Danbury near Wooster Mountain for a missing autistic man.
The man was found safe, but Texas slipped away from his handler during the search. The Connecticut State Police K9 handler lost his footing while they negotiated steep terrain and dropped the leash, police said.
At that time, K9 Texas was pulling strongly up the slope and continued tracking up the ledge, police said.
The search, which continued Wednesday and Thursday, resumed Friday morning.
Shortly after 10 a.m., state police released a video on Twitter showing Texas as hops from Stabell's van and is greeted by applause after being missing for nearly two-and-a-half days.
Kehlenbach told the Ridgefield Press that he was searching near the pond when he heard howling and knew that it was a bloodhound.
He followed the sound and found Texas "hung up on the fence,” the Ridgefield Press said.
Stabell then spotted Kehlenbach and Texas walking on Limestone Road and offered a ride, the Press said.
Texas had an emotional reunion with his handler, Trooper Ed Anuszewski, and all the rescuers, fire officials said.
"Texas was placed in the Danbury Hospital EMS Trailer, given the once over, fed a bit of dog food, and declared no worse for the wear," Danbury fire officials said in a Facebook post. "After a bunch of photo opportunities, and much fanfare, Texas was taken home for a well-deserved rest."
Danbury Deputy Fire Chief Steve Williams was incident commander, leading about 100 ground searchers, as K9s, Quads and even horses set out into the woods to search.
A federal helicopter with advanced sensing technologies flew overheard downlinking thermal images to the command post, including images of deer, rabbits, searchers, and a very large bear taking a drink off Starrs Plain Road, the fire department said.
Click here for the story at the Ridgefield Press.
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