The city of Poughkeepsie, New York, has introduced the first Pit Bull to the K-9 Police Squad. Kiah had been abused and neglected when found in a Texas grocery store parking lot and transferred to a shelter. She is now not only breaking stereotypes and paving the way for more of her kind to be used in the realm of law enforcement, she is also trained to detect narcotics and trace missing persons.

Kiah at work
Kiah at Work

Kiah and Officer Justin Bruzgul

Kiah patrols the town streets of Poughkeepsie with Officer Bruzgul busting criminals and serving as a top role model for her breed, which has been given an unjust population. Last year, Kiah graduated from  the Universal K-P Program, and when she isn't busy with her human partner sniffing out wrong-doing everywhere she comes across it, she and Officer Bruzgul visit schools and conferences to educate people about pit bulls and animal shelters. (See The Blind Dog Who Taught Children to See.)

Service dogs and law enforcement

Brad Croft, director of operations for Universal K-9, found Kiah after her previous owner was arrested for animal cruelty. He stated publicly that while police dogs are usually purebreds, trained specifically for the purpose of law enforcement, Kiah demonstrated such enthusiasm and energy that he knew instinctively that she was right for the job. (See Merel the Service Dog.)

Kiah is part of the Detection Dogs Program, which helps to rescue pit bulls specifically from animal shelters. She received her extensive training to join the police  force via the generosity of a grant from the Animal Farm Foundation. According to WKBW-TV, Kiah has earned the ASPCA Public Service Award for her exceptional performance as a service dog.

According to Croft: "The breed isn't important. It's what's inside of the dog that matters." German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are the most common breeds for police animals, but beagles, collies, retrievers and bloodhounds are also popular. Until now, however, there has never been a pit bull. Kiah's trainer, George Carlson, an Ulster County sheriff's deputy, believes there is no one breed that is suited for working in law enforcement, but there is an attitude and an energy level that indicate successful training with a particular animal.

And Kiah the pit bull gets a "A" for attitude.

See also: Bretagne


NewYork Upstate