Story contributed by journalism students Gracie Snyder and Sarah Liese
The Oxford Police Department’s Twitter is known for making people laugh, but it also helps to reunite lost animals with their owners. NewsWatch Reporter Sarah Liese took a trip to OPD for a closer look.
In the age of social media, the Oxford Police Department uses Twitter to reunite furry friends with their owners.
Times have changed, which means the old-fashion way of putting up fliers is no longer the best tool to find a lost pet. In Oxford, many residents turn to the Oxford Police Department and their Twitter page to spread the word.
The Oxford Police Department helped Madison Huffman find her lost pup through retweeting her post.
Hildon Sessums, Captain at OPD, helped kick-start OPD’s twitter and said that Twitter is the best way to connect people with their animals.
“Because your reach is so much farther than putting up a flier,” Sessums said. “If you put up a flier, you are depending on [if] somebody [is] actually gonna stop and look at it as they’re driving by.’”
As an owner of three dogs and manager of the OPD Twitter page, Sessums takes great pride in knowing that he helps reunite lost pets with their owners.
“There is no bigger joy than getting something back that you thought was gone forever,” he said.
When Sessums first began utilizing Twitter to connect pet owners and lost animals, he said he learned two things – that people love animal stories and that they want to help. He also realized that retweeting a picture of a lost pet has been a huge benefit to the community, and it hardly takes any time or effort.
“I think there are folks out there who are always wondering, ‘I want to do something, but I don’t know what I can do,’” Sessums said. “And when it comes to stuff [retweeting a picture of a lost animal] like this, they’re like, ‘Hey, this is easy.’”
Dylan Keveryn, Ole Miss graduate student and pet owner, said that he has never lost his dog. However, if he did, he would do whatever he could to bring him home.
“My first step would probably be to contact anybody and everybody- Facebook, OPD’s Twitter,” he said.
A survey conducted by the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that 85 percent of lost dogs and cats were generally recovered. Keveryn noted that he would be heartbroken if he were to ever lose his dog.
“He means the absolute world to me,” said Keveryn. “If I lost him, I’d be devastated.”
Sessums also agreed that losing an animal would be difficult to handle.
“If one of them [my three dogs] got lost, it’d be like losing a family member,” said Sessums.
In the case of losing a pet, OPD recommends that the pet owner Tweet pictures of the animal, and tag the Oxford Police Department.