Pit bulls have the unfortunate stereotype of being vicious and mean dogs. Yet there is story after story of people who have adopted these dogs, some who were abused and even had a history of fighting, and now the dogs are totally calm, gentle and sweet.
Now it is being discovered that these dogs make excellent K9 police dogs as well. They not only perform very well, but they are much more affordable as they can be found in many shelters for free, instead of having to pay thousands of dollars for the typical purebred K9.
One rescued pit who was one of the most successful graduates in the K9 program is Kiah. This was the first ever pit bull officer in New York state!
Patrolling the streets as well as narcotics sniffing are a few of her duties. And to think she started off as a stray who was abandoned in a parking lot! Now she is blazing the trail for a future K9 unit consisting of more pit bulls.

She was rescued after being found alone in a grocery store parking lot.
From a stray to now New York state’s premier pit bull police officer, she has made history. Kiah patrols the streets of Poughkeepsie.
Officer Justin Bruzgul is her partner and together they make a great team.
Many have believed that pit bulls simply were not capable of becoming companions to officers. Trainer Brad Croft proved the opposite is true.
He says that really any canine who has the qualities of being curious, confident, and attentive, then has the potential to be excellent at K9 work.
The key is having them be able to fixate on something for a long time without distractions. This is a good quality for contraband sniffers.
Indeed Croft has become part of a growing movement that changes perceptions of what pit bulls can do and how capable they are as K9’s.
AFF, (Austin Pets Alive!) and Universal K9, which is a company that trains rescued animals to become police k9’s, have rescued pits from shelters and are working to turn them into canine officers who, along with their officer handlers, will serve their community.
Here’s what Croft says about this particular pit bull:
“Kiah is one of the top three dogs I’ve ever placed.”
It was the Poughkeepsie Police Department that was interested when AFF put the word out regarding a potential pit bull K9 officer.
Kiah started training with Officer Bruzgul in Texas. Last November, they graduated as partners! Every since they’ve been patrolling while training for a narcotics detection position.
She is very confident and just as capable as other purebred K9’s.
Bruzgul explains: “I’m getting her out there and exposing her to the public as much as possible. I’ve had nothing but great responses from the public.”
She’s also opening the door wide for future pit bulls to become officers, which in turn will hopefully kill the stereotype of these animals being uncontrolled beasts.
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