We always thank and admire our working canine companions for all they do out on the field. These hard working dogs set out each day throughout the United States to aid their human partners in all their crime-stopping and preventing endeavors. There is no doubt that many of these police dogs are German Shepherds, especially in New York, which is why we were so surprised to meet Kiah, the first pit bull police dog of New York!
In July 2015, the City of Poughkeepsie PD welcomed a narcotics detection and tracking dog, K9 Kiah, a rescued “pit bull” dog. As the first “pit bull” police dog in New York, K9 Kiah demonstrates that rescued “pit bull” dogs can perform the same police work traditionally reserved for pure bred dogs. She’s become an ambassador, blazing a path for others to follow in her paw prints, and is now a semi-finalist in this year’s American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards!
Before joining the department, Kiah, a stray found injured and abandoned in a parking lot, was rescued and referred to Universal K9, which trains rescued “pit bull” dogs for law enforcement with funding provided by Animal Farm Foundation. During training, Kiah earned recognition as one of the most willing law enforcement dogs Universal K9 had seen. Kiah was placed with Officer Bruzgul at no cost, quickly becoming his partner, best friend and beloved family member.
One thing that is a bit different about Kiah is how she gets noticed by the department and the community. In our line of work, we encounter “pit bull” dogs and other types every day that are civilians’ pets. This program creates an opportunity for officers to witness the underlying potential of those everyday dogs, including rescued “pit bull” dogs, which are not traditionally used for law enforcement work.
When choosing dogs to join the K9 police force, there are a lot of factors that determine if the dog is fit to live a life as a police pooch. “Kiah is one of the top dogs I’ve ever placed as a detection dog. When seeking a potential candidate for a detection dog, I immediately look for confidence. Kiah’s ability to fixate on a toy for an extended period of time without becoming distracted is one quality that makes for a confident police dog,” explains Brad Croft.
With so many animals in shelters, it is an inspiration to see some of these dogs, such as Kiah, given a job and a permanent home. “K9 Kiah is an excellent example of Animal Farm Foundation’s mission to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs, and proves that dogs labeled “pit bull” can perform the same work often reserved for pure bred, purpose bred dogs. Additionally, the increase in adoptions proves that dogs are still an important part of American families and that dogs labeled “pit bull” are no exception,” says Stacey Coleman.
Kiah is an inspiration to dog lovers everywhere and an outstanding example of how pit bulls and mixed breed shelter dogs can be excellent service dogs too!