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Pit Bull Police Dog Defies Breed's Savage Stereotypes

November 13, 2015  | 

Photo: AP video screenshot
Photo: AP video screenshot

When she graduates Friday from K-9 training school, Kiah will be one of just a few pit bulls to serve as a police dog. It's a job usually given to breeds that don't come with the pit bull's reputation — deserved or not — as a savage animal fit only for the company of criminals, reports the Associated Press.

"The breed isn't important," said Brad Croft, who trains dogs for law enforcement and the military and found Kiah in a Texas animal shelter after her previous owner was arrested for animal cruelty. "It's what's inside of the dog that's important."

German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are most commonly employed as police and military dogs, trained to chase and detain suspects or find drugs, cadavers and missing people. Beagles, collies, retrievers and bloodhounds are also used. Pit bull police dogs are almost unheard of.

Kiah (pronounced KY'-uh) will be a sniffer for the Poughkeepsie (NY) Police Department, used to detect drugs and track missing people. She's also a goodwill ambassador, for her breed and for the police.

"She wants to work," said Kiah's handler, Officer Justin Bruzgul. "She's high-energy. Affectionate. I couldn't ask for a better partner."

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

kevCopAz @ 11/14/2015 8:13 AM

I have a sort of mixed reaction. I have found ALL breeds to be good if the owner trains it well. Yet here in Az some years ago Glendale Az PD had a Rottie, well the jaw strength of that breed(as with Pits) is something to fear. This GPD dog tore the face off a man for a misdemeanor charge and was removed from service. Bad dog? Bad handler? just a bad situation? Maybe,but once these breeds bite they hold and some will go to the death not letting go if they "lose it". This department is taking a real risk with this breed. Even if the dog does its job and bites when it should the department will just have another issue that can be used against it, "all people know pit bulls are unsafe","the department should have known, its negligent in its actions using this breed" will be heard all the time by Defense Attys once the animal bites. Sad but true the public "knows", or thinks it "knows" how these animals are and this misconception will come back to "bite" (pun intended) that agency. Why try

madmack1008 @ 11/14/2015 7:10 PM

Pit bulls have weaker bites than Shepherds,etc , maybe 200 psi vs near 30.I agree that they're stubborn,they were bred to be.Then again, todays' standard police dogs are trained to not let go of a bite.Most dogs fight or attack by slashing bites followed by letting go, unless in a pack with immediate backup by other dogs.And yes, most dogs, properly trained/socialized, are ok unless there's some external problem. Just my two cents, but I would rather stop a car with a larger breed than one with a lap dog. The bigger ones seem like they settle down quicker most of the time, if they need it at all.The purse-sized ones seem to bite more often.
Side note, Shepherds, Rotts, and Dobermanns were the evil dogs from the end of WWII through the 80's in various media. My mother told me that as a student in the 50's and 60's, bloodhounds were the evil dogs, thanks to the book Uncle Tom's Cabin, as they were once used to track runaway slaves.Most of them are big sweethearts. So are most Pits.

S.S. @ 11/17/2015 7:17 AM

If she can do the job. Great! She passed everything she was supposed to. Hope she has a great career.

Steven Ross @ 11/19/2015 8:08 PM

I believe this dog is just being used as a sniffer and not as a dog to chase suspects. While the Pit Bull is bread to have the physical characteristics of a fighting dog, it can be trained properly and is quite smart. Because of the reputation of the breed, I think it unwise to use it as a police service dog. No matter what, if there is an accident, the department will automatically start out on a bad footing. Best of luck though. Blessings, Steven Ross, Retired, South East District Humane Police

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