Pitbull lovers have long praised the gentleness and obedience of the breed, which so many of its critics have described as “dangerous”. Increasingly, law enforcement officials are proving this negative label wrong by including shelter pit bulls in their ranks.
Such pit bulls are a cheap alternative to more expensive, trained K-9 officers of other races, but how do they measure themselves?
Some police stations in the United States cannot afford it or are simply too small to employ the usual police dogs – K-9 units are important tools for detecting things from drugs to corpses. But law enforcement agencies across the nation have found a cheaper alternative that has proven just as effective.
“Police departments will eventually receive it,” stated protect bulls pit by BSL.
“Instead of spending $10,000 to $15,000 on a trained Belgian or GSD dog, they now take pit bulls out of shelters and train them, and it turns out to be amazing police and military K9’s.”
Organizations like Protect Pit Bulls before BSL (breed-specific legislation) are working hard to change people’s perception of the breed and prove that they are both trainable and professional service dogs who can do virtually anything the job requires.
In addition, animal trainers such as Animal Farm Foundation, Austin Pets Alive and Universal K9 are working together to rescue pit bulls from shelters trained as police dogs.
Many of these animals would end up being euthanized in shelters; it is a solution that literally saves both lives and resources.
These training organizations specialize in finding pit bulls and training them for detective work, including locating drugs, explosives, missing persons, corpses, and fugitives. The trainers have worked to ensure that the breed is as efficient as traditional working dog breeds such as German shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
The founder of Universal K9 Brad Croft explained: “Any dog that has the drive, confidence and desire to work can do it! The breed does not determine a dog’s ability to work”.
Bernice Clifford, Director of the Animal Farm Foundation for Behavior and Training, says that they treat every dog as an individual rather than judging it by its appearance or past.
In fact, one of the difficulties in training the breed for police work was to get it to act aggressively toward humans.
So far, police stations in several cities have introduced these alternative and cheaper K-9 solutions. The police in Poughkeepsie, New York; Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia; and Washougal, Washington, have all adopted pitbulls from these trainers.
The race is currently threatened by laws that would ban it from entire communities. Pit bull advocates such as Protect Pit Bulls from BSL try to avert this away by emphasizing their positive traits, such as obedience and loyalty.