The dogs are cherry picked from shelters by Animal Farm Foundation (extreme pit bull advocacy with unlimited funds). The dogs receive a few weeks of training by a professional paid by AFF, The dogs are then given, free of charge, to cash-strapped police departments.
Cities that can afford better, obtain bred-for-task dogs, frequently bred and trained in Europe. The traditional police dog has already been extensively trained before it even gets on the plane and gets another 14 weeks training with the new handler in the United States.
AFF pit bull is a stray with no known history, back-yard bred, with 4 weeks training in Texas prior to placement. AFF uses the placement of these dogs for publicity. If you read the press releases on these placements you find that AFF dog will have very limited use BUT will serve as a "breed ambassador."
If you look at demographics for cities accepting these dogs, the communities are poor, very low household incomes. They are also small, some have under a thousand residents.
Police pit bulls:
For some clarity here;
1)The dog's main function is scent detection, specifically narcotics.
2)It will not do bite apprehension work.
3)No pit bull has ever been used as a bite apprehension K9 by a US LEA.
4)As for "tracking missing persons", The instances in which a tracking dog would be used for a missing person search are quite limited.
5)The nature of a track is that it degrades quickly, is easily contaminated and most tracking dogs can not work on hard surfaces.
6) TRAILING DOGS and SCENT DISCRIMINATING TRAILING DOGS, are specially trained to work hard surfaces, to ignore cross tracks and contaminating odors and to work aged, degraded and dispersed scents. The most familiar breed to do this is the Bloodhound.
7) The bloodhound's physical characteristics make it eminently suitable for this type of scent work
8) The pit bull's physical characteristics are a deterrent to trailing and a detriment to tracking.
9) A pit bull's effectiveness at tracking will be limited to fresh, uncontaminated tracks on "soft" surfaces. What that means is the pit bull can not track a child that wanders from a house in suburbia, or an alzheimer patient that wanders from a home in an urban environment.
10)Other limitations curbing viable effectiveness include; rain, windy conditions, hail, sleet, snow.
11) Because tracking dogs are trained to find and follow the freshest or strongest scent, unless the dog is ALSO trained to scent discriminate, it will be unable to track where people, vehicles or animals have been in the area and left fresher scent on top of the target track by walking across it, or have left pools of scent across or near the target track via close proximity to it.
12) The most effective and most common method used in missing persons searches is NOT tracking, but AIR SCENT. NASAR requires a SAR K9 to pass 2 TIMED search tests. 1 is 80 acres and the next is 160 acres. This is done off lead with the dog ranging out of sight and being trained to do a refind (take handler to found person).
13)While tracking and trailing can be done off lead they are almost always done on lead. It is physically impossible to thoroughly search 10 acres by tracking, even if it is done off lead. It is impossible to thoroughly search 3 acres by on lead tracking.
14) So, unless the chain of command in this department is insane, the pit bull will ALWAYS be on lead when working narc AND especially when "tracking missing persons" to limit liability.
Thus it is safe to say this pit bull will be "tracking missing persons" just like the average husband will be sewing curtains for the guest room after he mops and waxes the kitchen floor.
It is impossible to understand why they would accept the risk of using a pit bull, the type of dog known to have killed roughly 30 humans a year over the last five years, when there are numerous breeds that excel at K9 work without the enormous risks associated with pit bulls.
Their decision to accept Kiah as a K9 is a disgraceful public relations gimmick by the Animal Farm Foundation.