Every day pit bulls are challenging the stereotype that they are mean, vicious, and ᴜɴᴍᴀɴᴀɢᴇᴀʙʟᴇ. Just check online and you will see hundreds of stories filled with pitties who have overcome ᴀʙᴜsᴇ, ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴᴍᴇɴᴛ, and ᴏʙsᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ to become the sweetest members of so many households. There are also plenty of companies that are helping to change the way people view this beautiful breed.
One of the most successful dogs that have graduated from the program — training ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ pit bulls to be police k9s – is Kiah, the first ever pit bull officer in New York state. Together with her police companion, Kiah patrols the streets and has a blossoming career in ɴᴀʀᴄᴏᴛɪᴄs sniffing. Though she may have started off as a stray who was displaced in a parking lot, this sweet pit is now making history and paving the way for future pit bull police.
Kiah the pit bull was ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ from the streets after she was found in a grocery store parking lot. Now she is New York state’s premier pit bull police officer, who patrols the streets of Poughkeepsie with her squad. She and her partner, Officer Justin Bruzgul, help keep the city safe together as a team.
Some may believe that pit bulls aren’t capable of being canine companions to police officers, but trainer Brad Croft completely disagrees. He explained any canine who is curious, confident, and attentive has the potential to be a great K9. If they can fixate on something for a long time without getting distracted, they should be able to become amazing ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀʙᴀɴᴅ sɴɪꜰꜰᴇʀs who know not to get distracted while working.
Croft is part of a movement that is creating more capable canines for officers to take advantage of and changing people perceptions about what pit bulls can do. As part of a collaboration, AFF, (Austin Pets Alive!) and Universal K9, a company that trains ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ animals to become k9 for officers around the country, have been selecting ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ pit bulls from shelters and turning them into bona fide canine officers that help serve the community alongside side their officers.
Among the most successful doggie graduates is the fearless female pit bull herself. “Kiah is one of the top three dogs I’ve ever placed,” explains Croft. While she was being trained, AFF was busy reaching out to officers in New York that might be interested in taking on a pit bull police dog — and the Poughkeepsie Police Department seemed interested.
Officer Bruzgul began training with Kiah in Texas and the two graduated as partners last November. Since then, they have been patrolling and training for her to become a ɴᴀʀᴄᴏᴛɪᴄs detection dog. So far, she has proven herself to be a great part of the team, who is just as confident and capable as her ᴘᴜʀᴇʙʀᴇᴅ counterparts. Bruzgul explains: “I’m getting her out there and exposing her to the public as much as possible. I’ve had nothing but great responses from the public.” Kiah is helping her city out, as well as her entire breed, by blazing the trail for future pit bull police. Hopefully one day, the stigma of pit bulls being vicious and untrainable will vanish as more of them enter the police force.