Dog who faced death in shelter to become Ohio's first pit bull K9

Leonard came to the Union County Humane Society shelter in late 2016, and the director noticed he had a personality that could make him a great police dog (WSYX/WTTE)

A worker at a Marysville shelter saw the potential in a pit bull that faced euthanisation. Now, Leonard the dog is set to become the first ever pit bull K9 officer!

Then Union County Humane Society said Leonard came to their shelter several months ago. Unfortunately, the staff found Leonard was aggressive, and not suitable for adoption. That meant he was on the list to be euthanized.

But Humane Society Director Jim Alloway saw a different kind of future for Leonard.

Alloway has a background working with police dogs, and thought Leonard had a great potential 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," said Alloway.

He contacted Storm Dog K9 Training, and while staff was unsure of what to expect because they'd never trained a pit bull, they started working with him. Leonard had no training and knew no commands, but they quickly discovered he loved to play! So, they were able to train him to sniff out the odors of drugs, and then get rewarded with a toy.

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

Leonard was partnered with Terry Mitchell, the Chief of Police in Clay Township near Toledo. Mitchell admitted he wasn't too sure about a pit bull at first, but said he and Leonard bonded immediately.

"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.

So, with the help of using a toy as a treat, and several weeks of hard work, Leonard is now fully trained and will get his certification from the state of Ohio. But it is still some play for Leonard.

"After home, when he's off duty, he's a big lap dog," Chief Mitchell said.

Leonard starts working this weekend, and the department can't wait for him to start.

"Now he's our bud," Chief Mitchell said. "Everyone on the department loves him. It's been nothing but good."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off