A few months ago Leonard almost lost his life — now, he’s working to save others.
According to WSYX, the handsome pit bull was brought to the Union County Humane Society in Ohio several months ago. The shelter planned to adopt out the dog, but found that he could be too aggressive and not suitable for many forever homes. Because of this, Leonard was put on the shelter’s euthanasia list.
Shelter director Jim Alloway, however, thought there could be a second chance for Leonard. Alloway — who had previous experience with police dogs — thought the pit bull could even be a good fit for the force.
The director contacted Storm Dog K9 Training for help teaching the canine the skills he would need to be a police dog. This was Storm Dog K9 Training’s first pit bull, so the staff didn’t know what to expect. But they were pleasantly surprised when trainers quickly discovered that much of Leonard’s aggressive energy was actually playfulness. They channeled this desperate need to play into detection training, teaching the dog how to sniff out specific odors and then giving him a toy as a reward.
“He has quite the work ethic,” Krishea Osborne, Storm Dog’s Director of Training for Law Enforcement, told WSYX. “He’s got so much play and drive and hunt that he’s a great police dog. He’s constantly wanting to work.”
After honing his natural talents, Leonard went to try out with Terry Mitchell, the Chief of Police in Clay Township, Ohio. Their trial run was a breeze: Leonard easily charmed and impressed the police department, which was originally somewhat skeptical about a pit bull police dog.
“I scheduled a time to come down and see him, and after about 10 minutes, I knew this was the dog for us,” Mitchell said.
Now that Leonard’s training and trial run are complete, he will soon become a certified police K9, helping the department sniff out drugs and other illegal substances. This certification will make him the first pit bull to ever work on an Ohio police force — an important achievement for pit bulls everywhere.