August 9, 2018 4:00pm
A pit bull with ties to an alleged dog fighting ring in Tilbury will soon be part of a K9 police unit in the U.S.
Carol Skaziak, the founder of an organization called “Throw Away Dogs Project”, is taking a dog named Dallas under her care to train him to become a narcotic detection police dog.
Dallas is one of eight pups born from one of the original pit bulls seized in the alleged dog fighting ring in 2015. Some of the dogs seized were sent to a rehabilitation centre, “Dogs Playing For Life” in Jacksonville, Florida. From there, 14 dogs — including the puppies were given to another organization called “Pit Sisters”.
Skaziak will officially take Dallas in from “Pit Sisters” on August 11. The two will then go to the organization’s head trainer’s house in New Jersey.
“I am going to introduce Dallas to our family there and we will do a few training techniques,” she says. “We’ll start working with him and start training for police work.”
Skaziak expects training to take approximately two months.
“Our training technique for narcotic detection work — or any type of scent work is all positive play,” she says. “We just need to introduce a game to Dallas and once we introduce that game and he understands the idea, we start imprinting him on the odours that we want him to find.”
Once Dallas is able to continuously detect the specified odour associated with drugs, Skaziak says they will teach him how to search a room and what to do once the target is found. After the training is complete, Dallas will then go to a police department in Honaker, Virginia.
“Pit Sisters” has another pit bull with ties to the Tilbury dogs. His name is Munchkin. Skaziak says Munchkin also has potential to work in a K9 unit, however, his short legs only allow him to search smaller areas so his options are limited.
“He’s exactly what we’re looking for, I just need to kind of mould the scenario of where I want to place him,” she says. “But [that’s] two dogs from the Ontario 21 and I am so thrilled.”
The “Throw Away Dogs Project” has been helping train dogs for five years. In that time, Skaziak says they have helped place 25 “misunderstood dogs” in the U.S. Skaziak says her goal is to utilize dogs that have been rescued from abusive situations rather than see them euthanized.
As for some of the other pit bulls involved in the Tilbury case, some have been rehabilitated and are ready for new homes. A Chatham judge threw out all charges in February 2018, against two men accused in the alleged dog fighting ring.