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Local honored as KC 'Deputy of Year'

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Sgt. LeAnn Pyles, a resident of Lakehills, was recently selected as the Kendall County Sheriff's Office 2010 Deputy of the Year.
The department's annual Employee and Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony took place the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 9, at the recently completed Kronkosky Place in Boerne. Law enforcement officers were being recognized for "going above and beyond," according to Kendall County Sheriff Roger Duncan.
Describing her as the "go to" person in Kendall County regarding animal control matters, Pyles' supervisor, Lt. Louis Martinez, nominated her for the honor.
Pyles currently serves as head of the new Kendall County Animal Control Facility that was constructed at the cost of just under $1 million. It is located off Interstate 10 West near Welfare. Pyles supervises six civilian employees who work for the sheriff's office at the facility.
With over 26 years experience in animal control, Pyles' input was sought at every stage of the shelter's design, construction and eventual operation. "Her knowledge in what is necessary to run and operate a shelter was invaluable to [the Kendall County Sheriff's office]," Martinez offered in his recommendation.
Specifically, Pyles contributed to nearly every facet of the state-of-the-art shelter, from its design and number of cages required to the recommended number of staff and interpretation of state laws that regulate the facility's operation.
According to Martinez, during what he described as the "huge undertaking," Pyles often worked on weekends - on her own time. "She tirelessly researched, designed, made inventories of needed equipment," he noted.
As the "go to" person in animal control in Kendall County, Pyles forged stable working relationships with Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendalia, the Hill County Animal League and others in surrounding counties, the San Antonio Rabies Lab and the Boerne Animal Shelter, as well as with other animal control facilities in surrounding counties. Cooperation between the various rescue organizations and animal control operations is critical to the welfare of the affected animals.
Pyles was promoted to sergeant in 2010 and received three personal commendations during the year.
Calling Pyles' work ethic "second to none," Martinez noted that she had never let personal issues interfere with her work. In fact, she lacked just two days of turning a perfect work attendance last year. "Two days when she showed up for work not feeling well, she was sent home," Martinez revealed. "She is in the process of turning Kendall County's animal control facility into the finest one in the State of Texas."
A resident of Bandera County for 15 years, Pyles began her career in animal control in Montgomery County, which is north of Houston. At that time, she was not a peace officer, but became commissioned as a requirement of employment by Montgomery County. She's been a licensed peace officer for 20 years.
Many law enforcement officers feel being an animal control officer is the equivalent to "a dog catcher" - a less than undesirable assignment. Pyles, however, entered that arena precisely because of the animals. "I am determined to try to save as many as I could," she said in an interview.
Rather than getting better, through her years working with animal control, Pyles has observed the number of abandoned, abused and stray animals increase steadily. "I've been trying to work myself out of a job, but it's hasn't happened yet."
To that end, her new domain, the Kendall County Animal Control Facility is assisting her goal of "saving as many animals as possible." As Pyles noted, "Because of its size, we're able to hold dogs and cats longer and that helps get them adopted to good homes. We've been able to keep one dog since October."

Pictured: Kendall County Sheriff Roger Duncan recently honored Lakehills resident, Sgt. LeAnn Pyles, as his department's 2010 Deputy of the Year.