A four-year-old rescue dog has become the first pit bull in the U.
S. to graduate as an arson detection K9 officer.
Hansel was rescued when he was only a few weeks old. After graduating from training, the 4-year-old pooch joined the Millville Fire Department in New Jersey, CNN reported.
Tyler Van Leer, Hansel’s handler and a firefighter, said to the outlet: “He’s extremely excited. Whenever I ask him, ‘Are you ready to go to work?’ and bring out the harness, he starts doing laps around the crate.”
Hansel was rescued from a dogfighting ring along with four other dogs, including his sister Gretel. They were taken to the Throw Away Dogs Project, a nonprofit that rescues dogs and gives them training to become K9 officers.
The adorable pooch was enrolled in a 16-week K9 academy with Van Leer after training for a year with Throw Away Dogs Project.
Hansel had to learn 14 different odors during the certification training. Now, he can identify ignitable liquids, like diesel, gasoline and kerosene.
“He was trained or imprinted on 14 different odors and once he was imprinted on all the odors, he was eligible to graduate,” Van Leer told CNN.
The pup’s newest role also paves way for other pit bulls.
“I am 100% sure Hansel is the first pit bull arson detection dog in New Jersey,” the founder of Throw Away Dogs, Carol Skaziak, said to CNN. “I have done so much research and I don’t believe there are any other pit bull arson detection dogs in the entire country. I have not found any others.”
She added: “We need police chiefs and fire chiefs around the country to want to do this too. This is the first step that could make a huge statement for this breed that has been so misunderstood.”
In an interview with ABC, Van Leer said that he is excited to start working with the hardworking pooch.
“It was like an instant bond — his little head poked around the corner and it was like an instant connection. You could feel it,” he expressed.
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