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.
“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).
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.”