Dog who faced death in shelter becomes Ohio’s first pit bull K9

CLAY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WSVN) — Leonard the pit bull ended up on the euthanasia list at an Ohio animal shelter, deemed “unadoptable” by shelter workers due to his possessive nature.

“If you have anything that appears to be a toy to him, could be a cup or you have something he wants, he tries to take it so it doesn’t make him family friendly. That’s the reason he’s not adoptable,” Clay Chief of Police Terry Mitchell told WTOL.

But instead of putting the 1-year-old dog to sleep, the Union County Humane Society’s executive director Jim Alloway saw potential in the pup.

“I walked out with a squeegee. 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 Fox 28.

Alloway has an extensive background working with police dogs, and thought Leonard’s drive would make him useful to law enforcement. He contacted Storm Dog K9 Training, who tested the pit bull. They soon realized his determination would make him an ideal narcotics dog.

“He showed everything he needed to do law enforcement. The only thing this dog does is find narcotics. He doesn’t track, he doesn’t apprehend people, he doesn’t bite, he doesn’t have any aggression training. He doesn’t find lost articles. He finds narcotics,” Mitchell said.

Staff trained Leonard to sniff out the odors of drugs. Once found, he would be rewarded with a toy.

“He has quite the work ethic, ” Krishea Osborne, Storm Dog’s Director of Training for Law Enforcement, said to Fox 28. ” He’s got so much play and drive and hunt that he’s a great police dog. He’s constantly wanting to work.”

With a strong will and high “ball drive,” the Clay Township Police Department said in a statement that Leonard would have been euthanized had Alloway not spotted his potential.

“For the average home, that’s a big problem,” Alloway said. “But it’s great for law enforcement.”

“Fortunately, UCHS Director Jim Alloway recognized those traits as being traits needed for Law Enforcement work,” the department added. “Storm Dog Tactical trained Leonard for narcotics detection and then made him available for adoption.”

Leonard passed his certification, making him the first pit bull police dog in the state. When he’s not on the job, he lives with Mitchell, who says they’ve forged quite a bond.

“He would just as soon climb on your lap and give you kisses and go to sleep as he would do anything else, but he’s really taken to the vest. When you put that vest on him he’s all business. It’s like he knows it’s time to go to work,” Mitchell said.

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