Certain dog breeds are known for certain characteristics or personality traits. Golden retrievers are often viewed as excellent family dogs while border collies are known for how smart they are.
And then there’s the pit bull. Just the mention of this breed might stir up some negative feelings, ideas or notions.
Often labeled as aggressive due to their bad reputation thanks to new stories about pit bull attacks, there is another side to this breed you might not know about.
In 2015, a police department in New York gave the other side of one pit bull a chance. “If the dog wants to work, if the dog has the willing to work, the ball drive, you know the energy to … use her nose and want to please her handler and do that working job, it doesn’t matter what breed it is,” Poughkeepsie police officer Justin Bruzgul told the Associated Press in 2015.
A 2-and-a-half-year-old pit bull named Kiah became Poughkeepsie Police Department’s first K-9 graduate of this particular breed.
George Carlson of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department admitted that Kiah wasn’t what he expected. “She is social. She is smart. She is agile,” he told AP. “And she was fairly easy to train.”
Though the Associated Press reported a pit bull police dog is a rare occurrence indeed, more seem to be popping up all over the place.
More recently, The Epoch Times reported that due to the high cost of a breed that would be considered a more conventional choice for a K-9 unit, several departments are turning to more cost-saving options.
“Police Departments are finally getting it,” Protect Pit Bulls from BSL [breed-specific legislation] said according to the news outlet. “Instead of spending $10,000 to $15,000 for a trained Belgian or GSD [German shepherd dog], they are now taking pit bulls from shelters and training them, and they are proving themselves to be amazing police and military K9’s.”
“Any dog that has the drive, confidence, and desire to work can do it! Breed does not dictate a dog’s ability to work,” founder of Universal K9 — a non-profit organization that saves and trains dogs for police and veteran use — Brad Croft told The Times.
It is organizations like Universal K9, along with others such as Animal Farm Foundation and Austin Pets Alive that are working hard to change pit bull stereotypes and use this breed for something good.
Police departments that have employed pit bulls as K-9 units reportedly include cities in New York, Georgia and Washington.
Do you hold pre-conceived notions about pit bulls or even other dog breeds? Might it be time to look at these breeds with fresh eyes and see the positive ways they can make a difference?
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