K-9 Program In Pennsylvania Trains Shelter Dogs To Become Police Dogs

Throw Away Dogs takes shelter rescues, trains them and gives them a second chance as K-9 officers.

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Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Throw Away Dogs has placed nine former shelter dogs into police departments throughout the United States. Via NBC News
John Virata

Many police dogs are imports from Europe that can cost tens of thousands of dollars for police departments to acquire, depending on the training. But can rescue dogs be trained to perform the same tasks as those high-cost imports?

According to Carol Skaziak of Throw Away Dogs in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, some can. While she says not all rescue dogs can be trained to do police work, some special dogs can be trained to perform just as well as the imported dogs. In fact, nine of the 12 dogs that have gone through her training have been placed, free of charge, into police departments throughout the United States, NBC News reports.

“This is a huge amount of money that we are saving (a police) department,” she told NBC News. “It will save them anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000, $10,000.”

Carol Skaziak, founder of Throw Away Dogs, with K-9 Sonji, a former Craigslist dog who is now a K-9 narcotics detection dog in Paris, Arkansas. Via Throw Away Dogs/Facebook

Carol Skaziak, founder of Throw Away Dogs, with K-9 Sonji, a former Craigslist dog who is now a K-9 narcotics detection dog in Paris, Arkansas. Via Throw Away Dogs/Facebook

Skaziak launched the nonprofit Throw Away Dogs in 2014 to rescue and train shelter dogs for police work. Working alongside Abington, Pennsylvania K-9 officer Jennifer Doyle, the Throw Away Dogs team put the dogs they rescue from shelters through a three-month training program prior to K-9 testing for a police department. They are placed with foster families to ensure socialization. Once they pass the testing, they often work narcotics detection and even patrol duties with their partner and handler.

Dogs that don’t make it as a K-9 dog are adopted out to families.

“A rescue dog has the same qualities as an imported dog,” Skeziak told NBC News. “I have seen it, I have proved it and I will continue to do that.”

For more information, visit the website for the nonprofit Throw Away Dogs.

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