Just a short few months ago, Leonard, a pit bull dog, nearly lost his life. Now, he is working to help make a difference in the world as a police dog.
According to WSYX ABC News, Leonard was brought to the Union County Humane Society a few months ago. The shelter had initially planned to try and get the dog adopted, but staff members found him aggressive and therefore not suitable for adoption. Because of this, he was put on the list to be euthanized.
But, fortunately, Shelter Director Jim Alloway saw a much different and brighter future for the pit bull dog. Alloway, who had previous experience working with police dogs, thought that Leonard could be a good fit for law enforcement.
"I walked out with a squegee. He ran up and bit it and then he went running through the yard. I knew it was a special characteristic. He wasn't being aggressive. He wanted to play," Alloway told ABC News about Leonard.
Alloway contacted Storm Dog K9 Training and while the dog had no previous training and didn't really know too many commands, staff members quickly found Leonard had lots of energy and loved to play. So, Storm Dog K9 Training took their first ever pit bull they received and channeled his playful energy into teaching him how to sniff out specific odors.
"He has quite the work ethic, " Krishea Osborne, Storm Dog's Director of Training for Law Enforcement, told ABC News. " He's got so much play and drive and hunt that he's a great police dog. He's constantly wanting to work."
After some training, Leonard met with Terry Mitchell, the Chief of Police in Clay Township, Ohio. While Mitchell was initially nervous about a pit bull police dog, his nerves were eased when he met Leonard.
"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.
Since Leonard passed his training with flying colors, he is officially a certified police K9, helping sniff out drugs and other illegal substances. This makes him the first pit bull to work on an Ohio police force.
Leonard is working hard, but the playful dog still gets to have some fun and cuddle! "When he's off duty, he's a big lap dog," Chief Mitchell said.