Indiana Police Encounter More Guard Dogs
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -- Police who raid suspected drug houses in the city are increasingly facing - and shooting - vicious guard dogs.
The city's SWAT team encounters guard dogs during at least two-thirds of its raids, The Journal Gazette reported Sunday.
Team members shot only one dog during the 15 years before 2000. But in the five years since, officers have shot 10 dogs.
Officers attacked by the dogs - which are generally trained pit bulls or Rottweilers - often have no option but to shoot the animal, police say.
''We can't afford to let our people get bit by these things,'' said SWAT commander Lt. Kevin Zelt.
Officers have found kicking the dogs and using pepper spray ineffective, and Fort Wayne police do not use electric stun guns.
Some owners use the dogs in dog fights to make extra money, and they often are trained to attack intruders such as police or rival drug dealers and to ignore pain, the newspaper said.
No Fort Wayne officer has been seriously injured from a dog bite, but officers have been bitten, particularly around the knees, Zelt said.
The dogs often are mistreated and so uncontrollable that their owners keep them in the basement.
''These are not people who are members of the American Kennel Club,'' said Zelt.
Police do not track the number of dogs encountered by officers, but Zelt estimated his team calls animal control officers to help on raids as much as 50 percent of the time. Officers also have begun to encounter more than one dog at a time.
Not only can these dogs seriously injure officers, Zelt said, but they slow down the raid, giving suspects time to dispose of evidence.
Police in Gary also routinely encounter guard dogs, but the numbers have declined in recent months, said Sgt. John Jelks, commander of the Gary Police Department's narcotics-vice unit.
The dogs became such a regular problem that the city's SWAT team designated one person during each raid to shoot guard dogs, he said.
Some cities, including Gary, have ordinances setting special requirements for the owners of breeds such as pit bulls, but Fort Wayne has no such ordinance.
Around here all the crackdealers want pitbulls too, what else can you do with them
Is this a surprise, we are making headway, but we only have one admitting to it
No one here is going to get pissy over a drug dealers dead dog, right?
Eh, who am I kidding?