Shelter Dog Slated for Euthanization Is Now Ohio’s First Drug Detection Pit Bull K-9

K-9 Leonard helps dispel the notion that all pit bulls are aggressive.

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K-9 Leonard was on a list to be euthanized when the director of the humane society noticed that he had a special characteristic. Via ABC 6 Ohio
John Virata

A Pit Bull that was scheduled to be euthanized has become the state of Ohio’s first pit bull K-9 officer.

K-9 Leonard was brought to the Union County Humane Society in Clay Township, Ohio in September 2016 as a stray. Due to his high prey drive and aggressiveness, he was found to be unsuitable for adoption and was placed on the shelter’s euthanization list, according to ABC 6 Ohio.

The humane society’s director, Jim Alloway, has a background working with police dogs and noticed a trait in Leonard that he says makes for great police dogs, so Alloway removed Leonard from the list.

K-9 Leonard loved to play and that trait was used to help train him as a drug detection dog. Via ABC 6 Ohio

“I walked out with a squeegee,” Alloway told ABC 6 Ohio. “He ran up and bit it and then he went running through the yard with the squeegee and I knew immediately it was a very special characteristic. He wasn’t being aggressive. He wanted to play.”

Alloway then contacted Storm Dog K9 Training, which had never trained a pit bull. K-9 Leonard had zero training and didn’t know any commands, but they found out quickly that he loved to play, so they worked that into his training, teaching him how to sniff the presence of drugs and getting rewarded for a positive detection.

“He has quite the work ethic,” Krishea Osborne, Storm Dog’s director of training for law enforcement, told ABC 6 Ohio. “He’s got so much play and drive and hunt that he’s a great police dog. He’s constantly wanting to work.”

The real test was with the Chief of Police Terry Mitchell of Clay Township. Mitchell who told ABC 6 Ohio that he was hesitant at first in working with a Pit Bull, as he thought that they were all aggressive dogs. But upon working with K-9 Leonard, he quickly changed his mind.

“Leonard has no aggression toward anyone so I’m not worried at all.

Leonard has come a long way. Thanks to Jim Alloway of the Union County Humane Society for recognizing Leonard’s potential and the Chief of Police Terry Mitchell for taking on a chance on a breed that is often so maligned in the media.

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