When you hear the words “Pit Bull” what thoughts come to mind? A strong, smart and loyal pooch? A victim of unjust BSL? Michael Vick? Well police K9 could come to mind if you live in the state of New York, specifically the town of Poughkeepsie, where you might hear the term Pit Bull K9 more often: The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department’s first ever Pit Bull K9, Kiah, is being recognized by the ASPCA.
K9 Officer Kiah has a storied past, according to Brad Croft, operations director for Universal K9, a Texas-based nonprofit that trains dogs and police officers to become K9 unit crime fighters, without the high cost. He talked to CBS News recently about the outstanding dog’s award.
Prior to falling into his hands, Kiah had been abused by someone. She was hit in the head with a hammer before she arrived at the Texas shelter where Croft found her.
“From what I saw, I just couldn’t believe that she survived it, but she did,” Croft told the news outlet.
Croft took her back with him to San Antonio to determine if she could cut it as a police dog. At first, Croft said, Kiah was hard to train because she couldn’t understand what she had to do. But Croft noticed that she learned things fast, and after eight weeks of training, Kiah was outworking the other dogs in the program “all days of the week,” Croft said. “This dog is crazy good.”
Kiah and I presenting the students with the Sportsmanship Award
With her training complete, The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department reached out to Universal K9 in hopes of finding a K9 officer. Kiah was recommended, and two years later, she is going to receive the ASPCA Public Service Award in New York City as the first Pit Bull K9 officer in the state of New York.
Some people may be surprised that Kiah, who is trained as a narcotics and missing persons detection dog, could cut it as a police dog, given the misconceptions and preconceived notions that Pit Bulls are, by nature, a violent and aggressive breed of dog. That could be further from the truth.
“They’re just good, good dogs. The Achilles heel is the stigma,” Croft told CBS News. “She’s so friendly, she wouldn’t hurt a fly,” he said.