US police departments are training and adopting pit bulls instead of pure breed dogs to save money

Departments across the country are using the dogs to detect narcotics and apprehend criminals, from New York and Georgia to Washington

Rachael Revesz
New York
Tuesday 18 October 2016 14:55 BST
Dogs are selected from a shelter and trained before being given to police
Dogs are selected from a shelter and trained before being given to police (Animal Farm Foundation)

Police departments around the country are adopting pit bulls as police dogs, saving thousands of dollars on pure breeds and rescuing the animals from euthanasia.

Departments including Poughkeepsie in New York, Washougal in Washington, Chattahoochee Hills in Georgia and Texas are adopting pit bulls from animal shelters, instead of buying and training expensive pure breed dogs.

“Police departments are finally getting it,” said a campaign group called Protect Pit bulls from Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) on Facebook.

"Instead of spending $10,000 to $15,000 for a trained Belgian [Malinois] or GSD [German Shepherd], they are now taking pit bulls from shelters and training them, and they are proving themselves to be amazing police and military K9s."

Dogs are selected from shelter Austin Pets Alive! and trained by Universal K9, before being placed in police departments around the country at no charge.

The New York-based Animal Farm Foundation provides a sponsorship to Universal K9 to contribute to the cost of the training. Since the program started two years ago, 11 pit bulls have been placed with police departments.

 (Animal Farm Foundation)

The animals learn to detect narcotics, explosives as well as arson detection and to track missing persons.

“Any dog that has the drive, confidence, and desire to work can do it. Breed does not dictate a dog’s ability to work,” explained Universal K9 founder Brad Croft on a blog for the Animal Farm Foundation.

Pit bulls can be obedient and gentle animals, despite their negative reputation.

Certain cities like Montreal have even banned the dogs following a fatal dog attack on a woman.

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