A North Carolina sheriff’s office welcomed two deputies last week, and the new recruits came from an unlikely source. K9 Sarah and K9 Phantom both lived in animal shelters before entering an innovative training program that not only saved them from an uncertain fate, but also thousands of taxpayer dollars.
“What will be the most shocking to some will not be that Clay County Sheriff’s has the new K9 Deputies, but rather their breed,” the office wrote on Facebook. “Departments do not need to spend $15,000 to $20,000 for a pure-breed German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois … K9 Sarah is a pitbull and K9 Phantom is a pitbull-Boston Terrier mix.”
Thanks to the organizations Animal Farm Foundation and UniversalK9, both dogs escaped lives in shelters where their breed often puts them at a disadvantage. Given second chances, the duo underwent narcotics detection training, and for a specific reason.
“No pitbull/pitbull mixes granted by Animal Farm Foundation and UniversalK9 will ever be trained in bite work or criminal apprehension,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote. “They want to show the country and the world the loving and caring nature that most of us have experienced with our pitbulls and show that the pound puppies have what it takes to go up against and sometimes exceed their expensive purebred cousins.”
Not only are Phantom and Sarah ready to sniff out criminals, but their education also cost local residents less than traditional K9 programs. Grants from Animal Farm Foundation and Universal K9 covered training, while drug seizure money paid for other care and equipment expenses. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office only provided for their two handlers as well as gas costs. “Instead of paying $30,000 to $40,000 dollars that would have been typical with most departments, the Sheriff’s Office spent a fraction of that,” the post says.
Brad Croft, operations director for UniversalK9, couldn’t be happier about Phantom and Sarah’s new roles. “As always, it makes me feel proud to be able to help find productive jobs for these dogs and at the same time provide them with a new home,” he told The Dodo. “I visit shelters often and pit bulls fill them. The more I am able to place these dogs, the more I can save. It’s really a win-win-win for the dogs, law enforcement and taxpayers.”
According to a Facebook post from UniversalK9, Phantom’s already made one big bust since joining the force. And since Clay County Sheriff’s Office believes both dogs are about 2-years-old, the new deputies have many more opportunities to keep their community safe.
[h/t The Dodo]