Meet Hansel, the 1st pit bull arson detection K-9 in the US

A pit bull rescued from a dogfighting ring in Canada is prepared to guard and function the most recent K-9 arson detection officer and therefore the first of his kind within the U.S.

Tyler VanLeer, a replacement Jersey firefighter, had a stroke of genius when he suggested the addition of an arson detection K-9 unit at his local firehouse. The dog, named Hansel, is that the first of its breed to carry the title within the country.

VanLeer, who has been with the Millville local department for eight years, told ABC News the plan came along side the support of his fire marshal , an area policeman and therefore the Throw Away Dogs Project.
"It was like a moment bond -- his little head poked round the corner and it had been like a moment connection. you'll feel it," VanLeer said about his first meeting with Hansel at the firehouse.

"Hansel and that i started a 16-week academy on Sept. 30 with the New Jersey Police K-9 Association and that we did all scent work to become one purpose arson detection K-9," VanLeer said. "He was trained, or imprinted, on 14 different ignitable liquids and graduated on Jan. 18."

VanLeer said Sunday was Hansel's first official day on the work within the firehouse, but the 4-year-old pup was already well adjusted to his environment.

"The firehouse is not any strange place to him. He was there with me before the academy, getting wont to the bells and whistles going off and everything," he said. "He's extremely sociable, everybody loves him and there are not any problems whatsoever."
The newly graduated K-9 officer was first rescued by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) in 2015 and was later rehabilitated by Throw Away Dogs Project in 2018. Hansel stayed with the rescue organization for one year before being sent to the Millville local department .

"This step is so important for this misunderstood breed as I don’t think there's the other pit bull arson detection K9s in whole country," Throw Away Dogs Project founder Carol Skaziak told ABC News.

Skaziak said she has trained and placed three other dogs from the dogfighting ring in Ontario and that they too are now K-9 officers.

"The journey has been really fun and it's just rising from here," VanLeer said.
VanLeer said Hansel lives together with his family at their home and has everything he needs within the firehouse including an outside kennel, heaters and many of petfood .

"Chief Michael Lippincott has been extremely helpful, he made sure everything I needed was already there," VanLeer said. "When he met Hansel, an equivalent day as I did, he automatically knew it had been gonna be an excellent idea too."

VanLeer also hailed Millville-based K-9 patrolmen officer John Butschky for his help as "the middle man" who got things off the bottom and answered all of his K-9 related questions.
He was an enormous asset on getting me in touch with Carol (Skaziak) and getting the ball rolling. He has 20 plus years of K-9 experience and tons of connections within the K-9 officer world," he said.

Hansel's transition from rescue to officer was "really smooth" with everyone involved, Van Leer said.

Throw Away Dogs Project, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, is understood for taking in misunderstood dogs, training them to become police dogs, finding them jobs round the country and donating them freed from charge.

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