Three years ago, Dallas the pit bull was one of 21 dogs on a list to be euthanized. He had been seized from a compound in Ontario, Canada, where he and 30 other pit bulls were being trained for fights.
But now Dallas is set to become one of the first pit bulls ever to go from a fighting ring to training as a police K-9 officer.
Dallas is undergoing six weeks of training to detect narcotics and is set to join the local police force in Honaker, Virginia, The Washington Post reports.
CBC News first reported on the allegeded dog-fighting ring in 2015, when Dallas was a puppy. Since then, 18 of the 21 dogs deemed too aggressive to be rehabilitated were saved by Rob Scheinberg, the co-founder of an animal rescue and sanctuary in Ontario, who sued to prevent the dogs' euthanization. After a long legal fight, Scheinberg secured the release of the 18 dogs.
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From there, Jen Deane, the founder and president of the animal rescue group Pit Sisters, connected with Scheinberg to take in 10 of the 18 dogs, including Dallas.
Deane told the Post that Dallas' love for balls drew her attention.
“We knew that his combination of ball drive and his wanting of human praise was the perfect combination to be a police dog,” she said.
Now Dallas is set to fulfill Honaker Police Chief Brandon Cassell's wish of getting a K-9 narcotics officer. He said the town would not have been able to afford the $10,000 cost of getting a highly trained dog.
Deane partnered with the rehabilitation service Throw Away Dogs Project to get Dallas the training he needed to sniff out narcotics.
His trainer, Bruce Myers, told the Post that Dallas is training in daily sessions to detect drugs.
“He will save many lives,” Myers said. “If he helps take one brick of heroin off the street, that can save 1,000 people. And he will be incredibly proficient by the time he leaves here.”