In cities across the US, police dogs working the crime beat have usually been purebreds, trained in Europe, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars for police departments.
But trainer Brad Croft in San Antonio, Texas, has shown that law enforcement can get the same work for next to nothing by simply turning to the countless future K9s that are on “doggie death row” in US shelters.
“All they need is a chance to prove themselves and these dogs will work every bit as hard as the purebred dogs that we bring in from overseas,” said Croft, the founder of Universal K9.
Croft and his mostly military trained staff have rescued 60 dogs so far this year from shelters across the South. They’ve trained the dogs in drug and explosives detection, scent tracking and other work. Once they’re fully trained, the dogs are then delivered to local police departments for free.
And the dogs aren’t just joining police departments; they’re also becoming members of police families.
Universal K9 currently has 15 dogs in its eight-week class.