Pit Bull to Join New York Police Force’s K9 Unit

The  Poughkeepsie Police Department (located approximately 85 miles outside of New York City) is adding a new member to its K9 team – a dog named Kiah.

But what makes this canine so special is the breed. While must dogs that join the police force are German shepherds and Belgian malinois to chase suspects and sniff out drugs, or beagles and bloodhounds to track scents, this police department decided to welcome a pit bull to the team.

Kiah (pronounced KY’-uh) will be used to sniff out drugs and find missing people. It is reported that she is also an ambassador for her breed and police.

Related: Abused Pit Bull Caitlyn Named Survivor of the Year

“The breed isn’t important,” Brad Croft, a dog trainer for law enforcement agencies and the military, told The AP.  “It’s what’s inside of the dog that’s important.”

Croft rescued the dog from a Texas animal shelter after her previous owner was arrested for animal cruelty. In partnership with Croft’s company San Antonio-based Universal K9, an Austin animal shelter and Animal Farm Foundation, a sanctuary in New York, Kiah was provided to the police department free of charge (often K9-trained dogs can cost up to $15,000).

Related: 10 Owners Reveal Why They Absolutely Adore Their Pit Bull

Croft told the AP he often looks for dogs in shelter to train for police departments and chose Kiah after a staff member “recognized something special in the dog.”

The dog’s human partner is Officer Justin Bruzgul, who told the AP, “She wants to work. She’s high-energy. Affectionate. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

While often pit bulls get bad raps, they are also known to be very sweet, loyal and eager to please. George Carlson, the Ulster County sheriff’s deputy who trained Kiah in Stone Ridge, N.Y. told the outlet he believes she is the only pit bull on the East Cost working for a police department and is a sweetheart. He added,  “Dogs are individuals. They have their own personalities, just like people.”


60 comments on “Pit Bull to Join New York Police Force’s K9 Unit

  • Every k-9 unit should have a few pit bull’s on the team. Hooray, it’s about time they get some good publicly! Thank you…..

  • I think this is amazing. Pit Bulls are very smart, and fast, and live to please their owners. Kiah is beautiful and will make an excellent K9. This is giving down owners and Pittie lovers, all over, hope. Pit bulls are not bad dogs. Thanks you!

  • What a great partnership between dog and law enforcement, rescue group and training programs. Love it! Pitties are the best!

  • My two girls, mama is Staffenshire Bull Terrier and her pup is 1/2 APBT. These two are brilliant kind sweet loyal loving and want to please me. I am so glad to see the Police Dept. taking a Pit Bull onto the force.

  • I had a American Staffordshire and the speed. Power and agility was unbelievable. In addition, they sniff out drugs and people just as well as the hound dogs and they are extremely intelligent and passionate. However, they will fight to the end when jt come to protection of it’s love ones. Very good dogs with great common sense.

  • This is GREAT news. Please email all the forces across the United States, especially down in the South and inform them to use Pit Bulls as K9’s instead of shooting them on site for no reason.

  • Kia’s will be a great k9 dog for the force, nothing better as far as loyalty and willingness to please her owner. I would love to see many more rescued and used for this kind of work!

  • As a PROUD owner of this wonderful breed who resides in South FLA, this news makes my heart smile. Maybe if Dade County (more specific FLORIDA CITY) Police department was SMART enough they should look into EDUCATING their officers in this breed of animal…….maybe then their other officers would learn all the great qualities the pit bull are made of.! Then maybe another one of their “so called” officers won’t feel it necessary to fire three (3) bullets into the scull of a FAMILY OWNED baby who was only greeting a stranger knocking on the door of his home. Two feet away from the “officer “(for the lack of a better name) he felt THREATENED FOR HIS LIFE so as the dog was coming toward this idiot he MURDERED him right there on the front porch, in front of family. Did I mention that this beautiful pitty was WAGGING HIS TAIL the whole 5 minutes before the bullets left him DEAD AT HIS FRONT DOOR!!!!!

  • I have a pitbull that loves to run and jump. I think he could be doing the same thing. How can I find out more.



  • I think this is great pit bulls get a bad reputation. I have a pit/boxer mix and 2 German shepherds they r all loving but Zeus the pit mix is the most loving he thinks he’s a lap dog even at 75lbs. The next pit bull I get will b a rescue for sure. I say congratulations to the police dept in NYC for there new addition!!!

  • Haha I feel sorry for the bad guys. One look at a pissed off pit bull would make anybody turn themselves in. Don’t want to get bit by one of them ever

  • I am a proud owner of a pit …love this breed and stand up and speak out for this breed .So happy to see this police department making a stand for this breed ….

  • A pit is the shit! Every cop car should have one cop and a pit bull! And the true name of a pit bull is an “American Staffordshire Terrier”! And the aggression they do have is why they were use in bull pits for fighting, hensforth their name became known as pit bulls! They are sweet and passionate and love affection, and continue loving after they’ve been beat and abused! Like if you like share if you believe what i believe! _ Kirsten Bay City Mi

  • Awesome! Welcome, Kiah. I have my own pit at home and am so happy to see people slowly becoming more open to them! They are loving and eager to please dogs if treated correctly by their owners!

  • Awesome just absolutely awesome! It’s about time people are now seeing what great dogs they truly are & can used for positive things rather then bad rap selfish assholes who don’t to work and make honest living give them! Yahooooooooo! Thank you so much!

  • My piitbull loved nothing more then to hear the words let’s go to work. She is trained in both search & drug detection. Hardest decision I ever had to make was to retire her due to back problems.

  • I have the most loving companion. I was recently hurt and he will not let me out of his sight! He Looks fierce but thinks he is a lap dog. That can only last about 30 min because you loose feeling in your feet! Wonderful dogs unless they have ill meaning owners.

  • As a proud mama of a Beautiful 65lb. Red & Blue Staffordshire Pit Bull this makes me feel much better about the “bad rep” these wonderful beings get just because prior owners trained them to be vicious! I Love my pitty and she is so sweet, gentle, loving, loyal, smart, and overall she is the best 4 legged friend I’ve had in a long time!!! I salute you at the NYC Police Department, thank you for proving that Pit Bulls are NOT bad breeds!

  • I hope that the liability insurance is high limit and paid in full….. dangerous breeds of dogs have not place in a position like this…there is enough chaos/tension involved in criminal activity as is without involving a breed that CREATES chaos. This “free” dog is going to end up costing taxpayers far more than $15K… and the taxpayers had no say in it….

  • Alexandra Semyonova, internationally acclaimed animal behaviorist educated at John Hopkins University and University College London and author of “The 100 Silliest Things People Say about Their Dogs” says this about them: the ownership of the pit bull type dog correlates with four personality disorders: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic PD, Anti-Social PD, and outright psychopathy. Pit bulls aren’t killers because they have the wrong owners, rather they attract the wrong owners because they are killers. So what kind of person wants a dog with the killing bite of a pit bull? The owners of aggressive breeds can be divided broadly into three categories:


  • 32 dead by dog attack in the US & Canada so far in 2015.
    27 killed by known pit bull type dogs / pit bull mixes, which include
    so-called ‘breeds’ like Bullmastiffs and American Bulldogs.
    Stars (**) indicate that the killer was someone’s beloved family pit bull that was never abused or neglected.
    The double dagger (‡) indicates that the ‘pet’ pit bull belonged to the deceased person, their family or a relative.
    Adult fatalities by pit bull type dog (16):
    Anthony Riggs, 57 years old, Madison County, Tenn, ** ‡ Nov.13th, Rescue Pit Bull Mix newly adopted.
    Edgar Brown, 60 years old, Oklahoma City,OK, ** Oct.21st.
    Eugene Smith – 87 y.o. – Frederick MD ** ‡ January 7; ‘rescue’ pit bull, kept as indoor family pet
    Fredrick Crutchfield, 63 years old, Coal Hill, Arkansas ** ‡ Feb.4th
    Roy Higgenbotham Jr., 62 years old, Wheeling, West Virginia ** March.9th
    by Friends Pit Bull
    Kenneth Ford, 79 years old, Pahrump, Nev., ** March.13
    Julia Charging Whirlwind, 49 years old, White River, SD by Pack of Pit Bull dogs, March.14th, Native American on Rosebud Reservation.
    De’trick O. Johnson, 36 years old, Pine Bluff, Ark, March.21, by a pack of pit bull type dogs.
    Norberto Legarda, 83, Pecos, TX, ** July.2
    Matthew Brigmantas – 38 y.o. – Hamilton, Ontario ** [July 8 – killed by pit bull mix he was walking]
    Annie Williams, 71, Shaker Heights , OH ** ‡ July.12 Granddaughters pit bull
    Carolyn Sue Lamp, 67 years old, Redbird OK, ** July.24th
    Porsche Nicole Cartee, 25 years old, Spartanburg, SC, ** ‡ Aug.22nd
    Cathy Wheatcraft, 48 years old, Cooleemee, N.C, ** Aug.24th
    Emilio Rios Sr., 65 years old, Riverside, CA, ** Sept.8th
    Carmen Reigada, 91 years old, Southwest Miami Dade, FL, ** ‡ Sept.22nd
    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (11):
    11 month old boy, Deansboro, NY, ** ‡ Nov.15th
    Amiyah Dunston, 9 year old girl, Elmont, NY, ** Nov.8th
    Tanner Smith, 5 years old, Vidor, TX, ** Oct.18th
    Lamarkus Hicks, 2 Years old, Berkeley County, W.Va., ** Sept.29th
    Declan Dean Moss – 18 mos. Old – Brooksville, FL ** ‡ January 19, mother’s pit bulls]
    Malaki Mildward — 7 years old — College Springs, Iowa ** ‡ January.22, 2 Pit Bull Mixes, Mother’s & friends Pit bulls.
    Taylynn Devaughnm 2 years old, West Mifflin, PA ** ‡ Feb.22 Aunt’s Pit Bull Mix
    Brayden Lamar Wilson, 2 month old baby, Dallas, TX, ** ‡ April.19, by family pit bull.
    James W. Nevils III, 5 years old, Southside Chicago ILL, ** May.26th
    Jordon Tyson ‘Jo Jo’ Collins 3 years old, Lawton, Ok, ** ‡ June.29th
    Joshua Phillip Strother, 6 years old, Hendersonville, N.C., ** July.7
    Fatalities by ‘breed unknown’ (1)
    Unidentified Native American – about 40 y,o. – Gallup, NM [January 2
    [found dead at the roadside after altercation with ‘feral dogs’]
    Neta Lee Adams, 81 years old, Washington County, GA Mar 31, 2015
    Fatalities by ‘other breed’s’ (2)
    Gaege Ramirez ,7 years old, Canyon Lake, TX ** ‡ May.2
    Betty Wood, 78 years old, Sulphur Springs, TX ** ‡ March.13, by her pet Rottweiler
    Foreign deaths by pit bull type dog that we know of (10):
    Maxi Millian Guscott – 2 y.o. – St. Ann, Jamaica ** ‡ [January 2 – bullmastiff, which is a pit bull – mastiff mix]
    Emilia Mitroi – 53 y.o. – Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania [March 9 – attacked while feeding her son’s
    Itamir Fogaca da Silva – 45 y.o. – Sao Paolo, Brazil ** ‡ [March 12 – killed by his mother’s six pit bull mixes when he went to check on her]
    Rhona Greve – 64 y.o. – Ely, Cardiff, Wales, UK ** ‡ [March 20]
    Michael Dany Kassouah – 7 y.o. – Zahle, al-Kark region, Lebanon [April 7]
    Sheikh Kousar – 6 y.o. – Kakumanu Village, Andhra Pradesh, India [April 15 – roaming pit bulls]
    Unidentified man – age not reported – Lauro de Freitas, Brazil [April 22 – killed in his home by his own pit bull]
    Fred Savage – 13 y.o. – Otjomuise, Namibia ** [June 27 – the pit bulls continued to maul the boy even after being shot]
    Matthew Brigmantas – 38 y.o. – Hamilton, Ontario ** [July 8 – killed by pit bull mix he was walking]
    Matias Reynoso, 21-month-old , Leon, Mexico ** Killed by two pit bulls, July.17th

  • Owners of cited high-risk (“vicious”) dogs had significantly more criminal convictions than owners of licensed low-risk dogs. Findings suggest that the ownership of a high-risk (“vicious”) dog can be a significant marker for general deviance and should be an element considered when assessing risk for child endangerment.


  • Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    LawDogsUSA, Pit Bull Detection Dog Program, Shuts Down

    October 2008 Closure Notice

    Olympia, WA – Back in April, we reported that a handful of pit bulls seized from the Pima County dogfighting raid were chosen to be “rehabilitated” as detection dogs. Diane Jessup, the owner of LawDogsUSA, was the recipient of these dogs. In October, Jessup shut down LawDogsUSA due to lack of interest from the “pit bull community” and lack of adequate funding.

    “I had dreamed that LawDogsUSA would attract the best and brightest in the pit bull community and be able to grow larger than just me.

    While I received fantastic support from a few, unfortunately the support and funding necessary to continue the program in a meaningful way was not forthcoming.”

    Fate of the Pima Dogs

    The Pima County dogs did not work out either. She had selected three dogs for the detection program: Pima, Tucson and Arizona. Jessup writes on her website (please scroll to the bottom of the page titled: Update August 2008):

    “It is with deep regret that I report that “Tucson” (the male) was found to have developed uncontrollable dog aggression. With no socialization or training to channel his drive during his critical period (21 days to 16 weeks) this pup would never….”

    “Both dogs developed a very aggressive form of demodex mange – common in inbred dogs with compromised immune systems – and were being treated for that when I evaluated them for structural soundness. Both girls were suffering from severe…”

    It appears she euthanized all three dogs. Interestingly, Jessup does not support “no-kill” or dumping pit bulls into “sanctuaries,” which she compares to “above ground pet cemeteries.”

    She writes that the practice “amounts to a boarding kennel” and is the “height of disrespect for our noble companions.” She feels that euthanasia in her own arms is the most humane option.


  • Don’t cops have enough PR problems regarding killing without provocation? Why would they pick the #1 breed known for senseless violence, attacks, sufferIng & death, particularly of innocent dogs, children & elderly? Maybe they just straight up don’t care any more- gloves off- if the cops don’t kill you for no reason, their dogs will!

  • Team Kiah. Yeah. My Rottweiler’s name is Kiah and I rescued her as well. I have had Pitt in the past and she waa a sweetheart. I am so happy to see people understanding that these dogs are good if in the right hands. #Kiahworks

  • Of the 42 people killed by dogs in the US last year, 27 were killed by pit bulls. Most of the pit bulls that killed people were well-treated family pets. Yes, some of them are nice, but you can’t tell which pit bulls are dangerous until it’s too late.

  • There is a lot of documentation of pitbulls failing as therapy dogs and service animals. The same temperment and skills needed to be a service animal are needed to be a police dog. I think this is a bad idea to try to use this dog as a police dog. Sue Manning, long-time pit bull promotor and journalist for AP, has written an article about rescue pit bulls being trained as service dogs. (YIKES) She mentions two organizations doing this – Animal Farm Foundation, the best funded pit bull ownership advocacy organization in the world, and Pits for Patriots in Chicago. When we first blogged about Pits for Patriots in 2012, this outfit was less than a year old, and they had not yet placed any pit bulls as service dogs for veterans with PTSD. They noted that they started with four candidates, but that two had washed out. There’s a photo below of the two successful training candidates fitted with prong collars. Today, three years later, they still haven’t placed any service dogs with a veteran and the two candidates below both developed a case of the dog aggression for which there is no cure. They are up for adoption. The white one, Odie, had to have his CGC and Therapy Dog certificates revoked. He must go to an experienced pit bull owner who will not “set him up to fail.” FYI: That means potential owners must set up strict containment and movement protocols with zero margin of error allowable or there will be a bloodbath. And to think he was once a therapy dog.
    Pits for Patriots cites as their inspiration two “successful” pit bull service dog organizations, one in New York, and one in Tampa Bay, Florida.
    The Tampa Bay organization, called Pit Bulls 4 Patriots, was founded with the intention of training rescued pit bulls as service dogs for veterans with PTSD. Unfortunately, by the time the Chicago Pits for Patriots had cited them as their inspiration, Pit Bulls 4 Patriots had already been forced to abandon their original concept. They retooled and renamed themselves Hounds 4 Heros, a program that uses rescued greyhounds instead. Why? The pit bulls were not working out as service dogs. They took too long to train, and they found that pit bulls were too “sensitive” to work with handlers with PTSD because they “reflected” the symptoms of their handler’s PTSD. Evidently, the pit bulls were exhibiting common symptoms of PTSD: anger, irritability, hyper-vigilance, and anxiety whenever their owners did. Irritable pit bull service dogs. N o T h a n k Y o u.

    “We became clear that we need dogs who are able to provide calm in any situation rather than matching the handler’s feelings. Also, it is critical that PTSD service dogs can adapt and recover quickly from stress, and to be resiliant enough to do that again and again”

    In addition, the wonderful pit bull “washouts” could not be easily adopted so the founders of the organization are now the proud owners of a boatload of pits. Rescue pit bulls, it seems, are not inherently (genetically), suited to service dog work. Unfortunately Hounds 4 Heros not only took down the page the above quote comes from, there is no archive of it either.

    However, Hounds 4 Heros has written in depth about just what makes rescued greyhounds such great candidates as service dogs for veterans. Knowing that they were forced to scrap their original concept, it is not hard to read between the lines. It seems that greyhounds possess inherent (genetic) characteristics that that make them good PTSD service dogs and pit bulls do not:
    “In our search for the “perfect” PTSD service dog, we are very excited to have Murray join us. Greyhounds tend to be calm, loving but not pushy, caring but not overly sensitive, and are happy to relax and go wherever their person needs them to be.”
    This second quote speaks directly to their experience with pit bulls and they speak to both genetic and a reasonably knowable and appropriate early experience for the greyhounds:
    Our dogs are carefully selected for having exceptionally calm and stable temperaments. We like working with greyhounds because we do not have to train over any strong genetically bred instincts and drives (such as protection/guarding, being territorial, herding, dog aggression, or hunting). It was surprising for us to learn that although some greyhounds have a strong prey drive, most do not. While growing to adulthood in preparation for racing, greyhounds remain in daily contact with their litter mates and other hounds. They are spared from the jarring loss of their pack at an exceedingly young age, unlike most other dogs, who are bred and quickly sold as pets. This continued companionship with their own kind is extremely healthy for balanced brain development and canine social skills. Since they are being groomed to become racing dogs, their lives are disciplined, with plenty of exercise, routines, and very clear guidance from all the humans they come in contact with. As a result, they tend to be peacefully submissive to people, and easily accept direction. This is very helpful in their new roles as service dogs for our PTSD veterans.
    This next quote perfectly explains the very real dangers of trying to shape dogs bred for fighting into service dogs:We can’t overstate the importance of the balanced minds and good nature of these dogs for their job as psychiatric service dogs. It is critical that our dogs are going to be calm and stable “on their own” without the necessity of great guidance and leadership from their handler. When living with someone who has fluctuating weak energy and leadership skills, such as anyone with a psychiatric disorder, a dog will revert to its genetically bred instincts and/or to default behaviors learned in puppyhood. Skilled training can override weaknesses in temperament and high-drive instinctual behaviors, but our PTSD handlers will not be able to maintain training over the top of these things. The longer the team spends together, the more the dog’s training would “unravel” and revert to the genetic predisposition of the dog. Examples of this would be an unbalanced German Shepherd who falls back inappropriately to his instinct to guard and bite when threatened, or a herding dog who neurotically begins nipping at the feet and heels of anything that moves around his person. With the greyhounds their default is to either relax, or quietly withdraw into themselves. As a result, they don’t act out, become dangerously unbalanced, or create problems for their handlers or the public. They are able to maintain and return to their trained behaviors with relative ease.These gentle, intelligent, and malleable dogs respond very well to our positive training methods. They are able to perform the many kinds of tasks and work that most benefit people who face the daunting challenge of living with PTSD.

    And that is the crucial issue for safety – what instincts (genetically controlled behavior) does the dog default to when not under guidance or under the guidance of someone who is not an expert dog handler.

    Animal Farm Foundation is the other pit bull service training dog organization mentioned in Manning’s article. They are going at it the right way. They have put out a nationwide call for pit bull service dog candidates that they will evidently transport to the Farm at their own expense. They must figure that by casting an enormous net, they will be able to find one or two pit bull outliers with the temperament of a lab. But the best news is Animal Farm Foundation now admits that anyone can identify a pit bull, because they will accept any dog that was identified by anyone at a shelter as a pit bull for the program. They have evidently already placed five pit bull service dogs with handlers, but stopped promoting their feat after blogging about the first three.

  • This isn’t going to end well. When this dog mauls (not If) it will be a huge lawsuit. They are not only putting the public in danger but the officer and his family. Most officers bring their k9 home. This is a tragedy waiting to happen. Very scary!

  • Fabulous. Some of the sweetest dogs I have met are pitbulls. They are super smart and connect with their owners. I think it’s a perfect fit for canine dogs. They will be trained and i hope more agencues will follow Poughkeepsie lead. This could be very helpful in having less pitbulls in our shelters. Kudos to Poughkeepsie Police Department

  • For the most part the people commenting are intelligent open minded individuals that actually have experience with pit bulls. Then there a few idiots like Tom, Karla, Allie, Kristie, and Amy that have absolutely no experience with a pit bull…because they are too ignorant and close minded to realize that dogs are not inherently dangerous! Most serial killers are white males does that mean all white males are inherently serial killers and should be euthanized..LOL
    Seriously people grow a freaking brain

  • I’m so happy this Pit is being recognized for her good qualities and has joined a police force! I think it’s wonderful!!

  • Why would they wanna change the image of those gettho dogs in any way? They are doing well with other superior breeds. Anyway, two good things can come out of this. One, the dog goes crazy on cops, they have to embarrasingly put him down. That’s good news. Two, it actually works. If you have it chase some criminal, that criminal will not walk right for a while. And that’s good news too. Because the dogs will finally get to do what they were created to do. In fact, probably all law enforcement should used these dogs as k9 units.

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