There’s an amazing story coming out of Poughkeepsie, NY about a rescue dog becoming a new member of the police department! But Kiah is a very special story, because she is a Pit Bull. Not exactly the first thing you’d think of when hearing about a Deputy K9, huh?
Kiah is part of Universal K9, a group that has taken it upon itself to give second chances and purpose to rescue dogs all over the nation. And it’s put a lot of effort into putting down the stereotypes of Pit Bulls! After all, the most common breeds used in police departments are German Shepherds, and the poor Pit Bull-like breeds are unfortunately surrounded by misguided stereotypes.
Last year, Dr. Emily Weiss from ASPCA Professional gathered data from 45 shelters. It showed that in 2014, over 52,000 Pit Bulls were placed in those shelters, making them the most common breed. It’s important to know that the breed itself is very popular in the United States, which has to do with the vast representation in the shelter-systems. There just are so many! But even then, the stigma of the breed has dictated breed-specific laws and regulations… most of them declaring Pit Bulls as vicious and dangerous.
No person shall sell, purchase, possess, rent, lease or harbor a pit bull terrier within the jurisdiction of the Village of Larchmont other than a pit bull terrier which has been acquired prior to the effective date of this article and registered pursuant to this article.
Sections: 97-22 and 97-23 go on to detail all the strict conditions of owning a Pit Bull in Larchmont… including no one “under the age of 18 years may be put in control of or allowed to walk a pit bull terrier,” the dog must be muzzled while on a walk, and a Beware of Dog sign must be clearly displayed on property at all times, with specific dimensions (97-23). There are no exceptions for the dog’s situation, personality, or potential. With laws specifically targeting Pit Bulls, there are less homes for them to come to.
That’s why Kiah is amazing! She joined the Poughkeepsie police department in November, 2015 after being found in a Texas shelter. Her previous owner had been abusive, and she had been seized. Dogs who suffer abuse don’t always come out on top, but Kiah’s strong and happy personality got her noticed. In an interview with David Klepper, Officer Justin Bruzel said Kiah was “…high-energy. Affectionate. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
And she isn’t the only Pit Bull who’s fighting crime! Batman, donned with a fitting name, was also taken under the wing of Universal K9, and very recently joined the Lancaster Independent School District. There, he sniffs out drugs and plays with toys!
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has said that breed-specific laws have little to no impact on curbing dog attacks. And with the help of Universal K9, Pit Bull breeds will be rescued, trained, and hopefully working with law enforcement all over the country. Six Pit Bulls have already been placed, including Kiah and Batman.
To learn more about equal treatment and rehabilitation of Pit Bull-like breeds, you can check out the Animal Farm Foundation.