By Stephen Messenger
"A pair of formally homeless dogs have been given a fresh start at a new life of service and new homes - all thanks to those who recognized their great potential in spite of negative stereotypes.
This week, North Carolina's Clay County Sheriff's Office announced, proudly, that two new narcotic detection dogs had joined the team. Their names are Phantom and Sarah - and both are pit bulls, rescued from shelters and trained to be key members of the force.
"What will be the most shocking to some will not be that Clay County Sheriff's has the new K-9 Deputies, but rather their breed," the department wrote online, adding: "even though pit bulls get a bad rap in the media, they aren't all bad dogs and can do great things for the communities they serve."
Prior to graduating from a training course with their new human deputy partners, Phantom and Sarah were just two of countless pit bulls languishing in shelters, unloved. Fortunately, each had an organization step in to give them purpose and a home to call their own.
Phantom was pulled from a Texas shelter by UniversalK9, a group that rescues and trains shelter pups for use in law enforcement. Sarah came from a shelter in New York, and got her second chance thanks to the Animal Farm Foundation.
Not only did this save Phantom and Sarah from their uncertain futures, according to the sheriff's office, it saved taxpayers money:
"The two foundations have taken on the mission to show that Departments do not need to spend $15-$20,000 for a purebred German shepherd or Belgian Malinois to search and find illegal drugs, at the same time giving dogs destined for a life in a shelter or euthanasia a second chance at life serving Law Enforcement Officers and Departments around the country."
For Brad Croft, operations director for UniversalK9, seeing Phantom and Sarah put their sad pasts behind them to embark on their new career makes it all worthwhile.
"As always it makes me feel proud to be able to help find productive jobs for these dogs and at the same time provides them with a new home," Croft 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 tax payers."'
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