The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


After completing his training and receiving the required certification, Leonard will be on duty May 22 in Clay Township where he’ll be on patrol with police chief Terry Mitchell.

 Leonard, a 50-pound pit bull, is the newest addition to the township police department and has been trained for narcotics detection.

 Chief Mitchell has already introduced the dog, estimated to be about 2-years-old, to the Genoa school board

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Leonard, a two year old Pit Bull with Clay Twp. Police Chief Terry Mitchell. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)

and says Leonard will be seen regularly in the school district.

 “I hope to make an alliance with the board so the dog can be welcome on school property seven days a week,” Mitchell said. “We’re not going to start tossing lockers all the time and I’m not saying we have a (drug) problem.  But let’s head it off if something can potentially be brought in. It’s a preventative measure. If this dog runs its entire career and finds nothing on the school campus I’ll be happy.”

 Because Leonard is trained solely for detecting narcotics and won’t be used for tracking or apprehending suspects, he requires little modification of department vehicles and equipment.

 “He just jumps in the cruiser and is ready to go,” the chief said. “He’ll be working around the township and on call. With everything that’s going on he’ll be used for traffic stops a lot.”

 After talking with the staff of Storm Dog Tactical, a Sunbury, O. company that trains dogs for police work, Mitchell said he’s fairly certain Leonard is the first pit bull in Ohio to officially join the ranks of a police department – a lofty place in canine history for a dog that is a rescue animal and was on a list to be euthanized.

 He was evaluated while at the Union County Humane Society where it was determined that a strong will and other characteristics made him unsuitable for adoption.

Fortunately for Leonard, the executive director of the humane society, Jim Alloway, saw traits in the dog that could help him become an asset to law enforcement.

 Alloway contacted Mike Pennington, owner of Storm Dog Tactical, and following further evaluation, Leonard began the training for detecting drugs.

 Mitchell said he’d been looking for a “single purpose” canine and contacted Storm Dog Tactical after talking with a handler from another police department.

 “I did not want a dog for apprehension and was bite trained,” the chief said. “I just didn’t see a need for it in our area.”

 Chief Mitchell concedes his knowledge of pit bulls was limited.

 “I didn’t know a lot about pit bulls before I started this. I was just like everyone else and heard how bad they can be. But after you educate yourself on them, they’re no more prone to being vicious than any other dog that would be trained that way,” he said.

 The police department used a grant to obtain Leonard. Training and equipment costs were covered by donations from local businesses, Yackee Electric and Genoa Mini Mart.  Owens Ark Veterinary Clinic in Genoa has offered to discount costs for medical services, the chief said

 Pennington said Leonard exhibited no aggression but had a high desire to play with a toy when he was evaluated.

 “His desire to play and interact with people is exactly what we’re looking for in detection dogs. He did phenomenal in his training,” Pennington said.




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