American pit bulls have proven to be exceptional detection dogs. Historically, they have been accepted by “high end” agencies much quicker than smaller agencies. This is due primarily to the superior experience and knowledge of the trainers involved. Good trainers understand that good dogs are where you find them – and pay no attention to the “fad panics” which plague popular breeds in a cyclic fashion.
Those old enough remember the “fad panics” of the 60’s (German shepherds) the 70’s (Dobermans) 80’s (pit bulls) 90’s (Rottweilers) and now in the year 2006, legislation and insurance companies are trying to ban all of the above!
All dog breeds suffer when they become popular and fall into the hands of criminal, irresponsible, mentally ill, or simply stupid dog owners. Right now the American pit bull is numerically the most popular breed in the U.S. Many fine dogs fall into the hands of the very worst kind of owner, with resulting tragedies. “Witch hunts” directed at the entire dog breed – instead of the dog owners involved with criminal ownership practices, have broken out in communities with poor leadership.
Thanks to the outstanding work of the American pit bulls currently (and in the past) working as detection dogs, and the fair minded officers and trainers who give them their chance, the future of America’s working breed is assured.
This cute rescued female pit bull has been working for a couple years now as a narcotics detection dog with the Washington State Patrol. She is friendly, loves children and is great with other dogs. She really is super sweet.
K9 Brei’s partner is respected detection dog trainer Trooper Steve Gardner. They are based in the Puget Sound area in Washington State.
K9 Sampson is a strong young male who found himself in a shelter where his energy level threatened his ability to find a home. He was selected for detection dog training, and passed the course with flying colors. Paired up with a fantastic young man named Trooper Mike Allen, K9 Sampson thrives on the work as an explosives detection dog.
K9 Moto could win the “Happiest Dog In The World” award. His tail simply never stops wagging. He makes a believer out of all who meet him.
K9 Moto was found living in a crate full of feces and urine in a barn in Oregon. Thanks to a persistant deputy, he was eventually rescued and taken to animal control. His chances of adoption were low, due to the tremendous number of adult male pit bulls in the nation’s shelters, all looking for homes. However, there was something about Moto that made the shelter staff work all that much harder to find him a place.
When staff heard about LawDogs, they arranged for Moto to be tested. He was super! Moto was fostered by Heather Leu of Echo Kennel Working Dogs for two months until a class started.
K9 Moto has been a real hero since hitting the streets! He has made several important finds in just a few months of work!
K9 Pickles is a red brindle/red nose American pit bull who works with the U.S. Customs Service as a narcotics detection dog. He currently works on the East Coast.
Officer Ron Clark doesn’t know what drew him to open an old refrigerator on a back porch of a house in Buffalo, New York during a drug bust. But her did, and inside was a pit bull puppy wrapped in a black plastic bag. The pup was near death, but recovered at an animal shelter and was put up for adoption. Scared away by the media frenzy surrounding the breed, adopters passed the little black pup by. Finally staff sent him to officer Sally Barr of the US Customs canine-enforcement program. Popsicle, as he was named, became one of an elite few accepted for training at the school in Front Royal, VA.
To give you an idea of how “elite” the dogs must be, of 500 dogs tested by Barr in three years, only four made the cut. But little Popsicle was up to the challenge and not only graduated at the top of his class, he became a celebrated alumnus two months later by detecting a record contraband cache under a tractor-trailer.
The bust was an important one, with Popsicle finding 3,075 pounds of cocaine in a pineapple filled truck at the Mexican border-the biggest drug bust ever at the Hidalgo, Texas, port of entry. Popsicle received a “Significant Seizure Medal”. “It’s astounding the obstacles this dog has overcome,” says US Customs Service Commissioner Raymond W. Kelley.
K9 Tucker is now retired. This big ole rednose/red male cut quite a swath as a narcotics detection dog on the American/Canadian border. He is a loving dog with a real sense of humor.