If there’s a breed of dog with a terrible reputation, it’s the Pitbull. In truth, a dog is only as mean as its owner, but most people are convinced that pit bulls are inherently violent and aggressive. A number of jurisdictions have gone as far as trying to ban them.
Pitbulls do indeed have large and powerful jaws (although the notion that their jaws have a special “lock” is a myth). What this does mean is that when a pitbull bites someone, there can be serious injuries.
But the pitbull’s bad rap really has more to do with what some owners have made of their dogs. The breed has long been a favorite in the illegal dogfighting community. It’s also the preferred attack dog of urban toughies. These bad apples have been spoiling the bunch.
A great irony is that far more often, pitbulls are the victims of humans and not the other way around. That was certainly the case with Kiah, a dog who had been badly mistreated. When she was rescued, they found her tied up outside in the snow, emaciated and shivering. She ended up becoming a police dog.
Justin Bruzgul of the Poughkeepsie, New York police department, trained her and serves as her fellow officer on the beat. Kiah was the first police pitbull in New York State and among the first in the nation. When she isn’t on duty protecting the public, she serves as a “breed ambassador,” helping to fight stereotypes and misconceptions about pit bulls.
As officer Bruzgul explained, “All pitbulls are not nasty and aggressive. And she’s a perfect example. She’s lovable; she’s friendly. She came from a horrible situation and to see that… That’s what ultimately makes it the most rewarding: getting her a better life, and she has it.”