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Pit bull becomes Chitamacha K9 officer, defying stereotypes - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Pit bull becomes Chitamacha K9 officer, defying stereotypes

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CHARENTON, La. -

In Louisiana, more than 30 cities and parishes have passed breed-specific legislation against dogs like pit bulls, including several in the Acadiana area, but more and more, pit bulls are being used for emotional support, therapy, and now, K9 officers.

From a shelter dog to one of the Chitimacha Tribal Police's most valuable assets, Dozer is a pit bull trained for narcotics busts and tracking.

"So, I say every time we put on that uniform, and he puts on that collar, it's working time," says officer Nick Picard.

This dog can find things the human nose can't smell. Since June of this year, Dozer has helped make more than 30 narcotics arrests.

"It's normal police work, nothing big and different. It's just like having a partner. He can just do things that most of us can't," said Picard.

He is officer Picard's partner in crime, or justice, we should say. "I mean, I love him to death. He's my baby; that's my boy," Picard explains.

According to the CDC, over a 20-year period, dog bites accounted for 273 human deaths. Of those, pit bulls have the highest fatality rate, totaling at about 70 of those deaths. 

The study also says that it's not necessarily the dog itself but more of who owns them that is the problem. They found pit bull owners lived more often in high-risk neighborhoods, and owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal and/or violent acts. 

"Pit bulls used to be an American nanny dog, you know, in the Little Rascals, Petey watched out for those kids. Unfortunately, those are our hardest dogs to adopt out, and a lot of the times, they are some of our favorite sweetest dogs. Unfortunately, 50% of the dogs we see in municipal shelters are pit bulls in this area, and they are who get euthanized," said Drea Broussrd, Adoption Coordinator of Acadiana Animal Aid.

Rescue workers also say they find that future dog owners will sometimes discriminate against dog breeds with a blockier head.

"Because every dog, unfortunately, can have a negative effect on their behavior. It just depends on who they're with and how they're raised," said Broussard.

Officer Picard says Dozer is a testament to that. "He's sweet. I mean, he's just a big baby. He does his job, and he's very good at what he does, but on a personal level, I go in the police station with all the other officers in there, and I take him off leash, and he says 'hi' to everyone," said Picard.

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