Police dogs in the United States are usually purebreds trained in Europe and cost thousands of dollars for departments.
However, one trainer in Texas is showing that law enforcement can get the same work done on the crime beat with shelter dogs.
“All they need is a chance to prove themselves and these dogs will work every bit as hard as the purebred dogs that we bring in from overseas,” said Brad Croft, the founder Universal K9, told ABC News.
Croft and his staff have rescued and trained more than 60 canines this year from dogs on “death row.” The dogs are trained in drug and explosive detection and scent tracking.
After they’re trained, Universal K9 delivers them to police stations at no cost.
“Right now, we’re on track to saving almost 100 dogs this year [from euthanasia],” Croft said. “If you look at the statistics, the statistics are like something like 945,000 a year that are being euthanized.”
Sadie, a five-month-old mixed breed was found on the side of the road. She’s also the class’ star student.
“She was just so playful. She had a lot of energy in the beginning,” animal control worker Estephen Centeno said. “It’s an amazing feeling because a lot of these dogs get put down in other places.”
Cpl. Wesley Keening told ABC News he was hesitant to take on his rescue K9 partner, Remi, at first but the pair soon quickly bonded.
“Remi is a saved dog,” he said. “She’s proud of herself. I am proud of her. She’s wonderful. I can’t say enough about her.”
For more information about the Universal K9 project, visit their Facebook page.
*ABC News contributed to this report.