Source: The Sun Times
The Yuba City Police Department in northern California includes a SWAT team, an anti-gang unit, a canine unit with three active dogs — and a rabbit.
The department recently introduced the newest and smallest member of the team, Wellness Officer Percy. He’s a brown and white rabbit who was found on Percy Avenue near the city’s fairgrounds by Officer Ashley Carson during a patrol last October.
“I started to call him, and I said, ‘Here bun, bun!’” Carson told local TV news. “He came running up to me and he stood on his hind legs, and I picked him up.”
Carson took the abandoned bunny to animal control, but when no one claimed him, police services analyst Chelsea McCready decided to adopt him and started bringing him to work with her. “This idea came as kind of a joke, and it’s really caught on,” she said.
The YCPD’s Facebook page says Percy is now part of the department’s wellness initiative for employees and their families. “Our wellness program promotes the importance of prioritizing mental and physical health, providing tools and resources to reduce stress and create a positive foundation for well-being,” it says. “Officer Percy lounges at the police department during the day and is a support animal for all.”
It adds: “Most enjoy his company, while some are still getting used to the idea of a rabbit being inside a police department.”
The Facebook post has received more than 1,600 likes since it went up, with many people responding with pictures of their own rabbits, one even wearing its own police sweater.
Police say Percy can act as a locus of calmness in a stressful job. “Being able to hold him, pet him and just kind of step back from that situation for a minute, regroup, is vital,” said Lt. Michelle Brazil.
Percy isn’t the first unusual animal to join a police department. In 2012, the Kyoto police force adopted a stray cat named Lemon, gave him a tiny uniform and brought him along to calm victims of crime who were making reports.
Percy wears a size-small vest with K9 on the side, presumably because they don’t make “police rabbit” clothing. Yet.