Leonard, The Pitbull, Is Ohio’s First K-9 Officer


When someone mentions service dogs for police forces, everyone immediately thinks of breeds like German Shepherds, Malinois, or Rottweilers. Rarely does anyone think of Pitbulls. Why? Because Pitbulls were never used as service dogs.

There’s one Pittie that will change the destiny of the entire breed. His name is Leonard.

From Death List To A Service Life

the policeman leads the dog on a leash
Photo from: YouTube screenshot

Pitbulls are often portrayed as dangerous dogs. Their proneness to aggression is more enhanced than with other breeds. Still, not every Pitti is dangerous. Not every specimen of this breed will show you their teeth; some will actually show you their big heart.

One of those Pitties with a heart as big as the State of Ohio is Leonard. The lovely fawn Pitbull was rescued by the Union County Humane Society. Every dog that ends up there gets a chance for a new start.

However, after thorough evaluation, the UCHS crew decided that Leonard wouldn’t be the best fit for families due to his likeness to show aggression. The end was near. Leonard was put on the death list. 

But, not everyone gave up on this Pittie. The shelter’s director, Jim Alloway, thought that everyone has a purpose and deserves a second chance. Thanks to his previous experience on the force, Mr. Alloway contacted K-9 training specialists at Storm Dog K9 Training.

He believed there was a spot for Leonard in the police force!

A Pleasant Surprise

pit bull is holding something in its mouth
Photo from: YouTube screenshot

The bloodthirsty Pitbull didn’t seem so bloodthirsty anymore.

Leonard was a pleasant surprise for everyone. That shy shelter dog finally showed his personality. He was sweet, playful, and boasting with energy that needed to be channeled. 

Fortunately, Leonard’s work ethics was recognized, and the dog soon started search training to become a narcotics dog. He was trained to use his sharp sense of smell to detect prohibited substances. 

Needless to say, Leonard proved to be an amazing police dog!

Partnering Up

a pit bull sits on a leash next to a police officer
Photo from: YouTube screenshot

Leonard couldn’t work alone, no matter how great his work skills were. He needed a partner officer. Enter the scene, Terry Mitchell – the Chief of Police in Clay Township, Ohio. 

Leonard and Mitchell immediately clicked. It took only a couple of minutes for chief Mitchell to realize Leonard was the dog for his unit. 

The following couple of weeks brought additional training for Leonard and chief Mitchell. Soon enough, the duo was ready to work together in the field. 

Leonard was trained to detect hidden drugs. But, he doesn’t whine or scratch the area to let them know he has picked up a scent. Leonard just sits there if there’s drugs hidden… as simple as that!

When off duty, officer Mitchel says Leonard is just as sweet and cuddly as any other dog. He’s nowhere near aggressive. 

Leonard just needed a purpose and someone to guide him on which path to take. 

Some dogs simply aren’t meant for peaceful family life. Some are born workers, just like Leonard.