Kiah has completed her training and will soon help the Poughkeepsie Police Department sniff out missing people and criminals

By Kelli Bender
Updated October 27, 2015 04:03 PM
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Pit bulls are constantly battling a bad reputation, but luckily, they have some powerful and caring people on their side.

New York-based nonprofit, Animal Farm Foundation, is one of many groups devoted to showing that this breed deserves a chance to prove itself. Dedicated to “securing equal treatment and opportunity for ‘pit bull’ dogs,” one of the many ways the AFF helps these canines shine is through detection dog sponsorships. In partnership with Universal K9 and Austin Pets Alive!, Animal Farm Foundation rescues pit bulls and then covers the cost to have the animals trained as police detection dogs by Universal K9.

The expertly-trained pups are then given to police departments across the country, at no charge to the department.

“I think that people need to look at the dogs as individuals, instead of a group of animals,” director of training and behavior for Animal Farm Foundation, Bernice Clifford, told PEOPLE. “They’re not any different than any other set of dogs.”

Kiah is one of the lucky doggie individuals to benefit from Animal Farm Foundation’s detection dog program. Saved from severe abuse, Kiah has now finished her training process and is getting comfortable at her new home in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she is living with Officer Justin Bruzgul.

“We originally thought that she would just be doing detection work for narcotics,” Clifford shared. “We have just found out that she will be doing more work on finding lost people, so if a child goes missing, she would be the one who goes out.”

Along with helping to find missing children, Kiah’s keen nose and special training will also allow her to sniff out criminals on the run, drug stashes, and those who have wandered away from their nursing homes or hospitals.

“When the opportunity came up for Kiah to join the department through the graciousness of Animal Farm Foundation, I was pretty excited,” said Captain Thomas Pape of the Poughkeepsie police department. “I always wanted a dog that was devoted to just article searches and people searches.”

Kiah will start her official duties soon, working in the office during the day and living with her handler, Officer Bruzgul, in the evenings. Animal Farm Foundation hopes that dogs like Kiah show people the great potential in pit bull dogs, and every canine individual.