From Pound to the Police: How One Rescue Dog Became Ohio’s First Pit Bull K9 Cop

From bark to narc!

We all know that pit bulls get an unwarranted bad rap. (The stigma is so ingrained that some dog lovers are trying to change the breed’s name to “pibble” to soften their image.) But no dog knows this fact more than sweet pit bull Leonard.

Leonard is a handsome, reddish-brown pibble who was brought into Union County Humane Society this past fall. He was deemed unadoptable for being "too aggressive" and his propensity for yanking objects out of people’s hands and running—so he was placed on the shelter’s euthanasia list.

But don’t start crying yet; Leonard’s luck is about to turn around!

Leonard’s antics, which initially put him on death row, were about to save his life. According to Humane Society Director Jim Alloway in an interview with WSYX/WTTE, "I walked out with a squegee. He ran up and bit it and then he went running through the yard. I knew it was a special characteristic. He wasn't being aggressive. He wanted to play."

Luckily, Alloway has experience working with police dogs and knew Leonard’s natural enthusiasm and object-snatching skills would be a very valuable asset for a K9 cop. Alloway contacted Storm Dog K9 Training to work on shaping Leonard into a police dog. Despite never previously working with a pit bull, Alloway found that Leonard was acing his training and impressing the staff.

Leonard’s exuberant energy was perfect for detection training, where he learned how to sniff out specific odors and alert his human to what he found. After each successful scent identification, Leonard then received a toy and some playtime as a reward.

After Leonard’s training was completed, he was brought to meet with Clay Township Ohio police chief Terry Mitchell. Leonard charmed Chief Mitchell almost instantly and the pup was hired on the spot, making him Ohio’s first pit bull police dog.

While Leonard is clearly very excited and eager to work, when he puts on his police vest, it’s not all work and no play: He also has time in his new life for some R&R. According to Chief Mitchell, when Leonard is off the clock he’s a complete lapdog, livin' it up in his forever home.

Congrats on your new career and new life, Leonard!

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