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Posted: 4/23/2001 9:48:38 AM EST
That little girl that got mauled by the police dog a couple weeks ago is lucky the dog didn't have these.
Metal teeth give US police dog a new bite
By David Wastell in Washington
AMERICAN police dogs are being equipped with a new weapon in the fight against crime: titanium false teeth designed to improve their bite - and their grip - on anyone trying to escape the law.
Apak, an 80lb alsatian attached to a sheriff's department in rural Florida, is one of hundreds of dogs whose snarl has been enhanced by modern dental techniques. Apak was never cuddly, but now when he bares his teeth he presents an unnerving sight: two glinting, metal canines in its upper jaw, tough enough to keep a grip on almost anything that moves.
"Before he had these fitted, he was hesitant to bite," said Tim Ellis, a sheriff's department deputy who has worked with dogs in Polk County, 40 miles south of Orlando, Florida, for the past five years. "Both these teeth were damaged and it was interfering with his work. We had to do something to maintain his biting proficiency and getting the titanium teeth fitted seemed the best solution."
The fitting of metallic teeth to extend the working life of dogs such as Apak is catching on across America, as the police and military look for ways to save money. It costs less for a dentist to fit Apak's teeth - $600 (£400) per tooth - than it would to obtain and train a replacement animal, which could cost more than $10,000 (£6,800). An estimated 600 dogs a year are equipped with the new teeth, most of them working dogs of one kind or another.
Alsatians often break or damage their canine teeth, the four longest and most noticeable teeth in their mouths, during training or when they gnaw on their cages, which can make it painful for them to bite.
Jim Watson, the secretary of the North American Police Work Dogs Association, and an expert in training dogs, said: "The four big canines are what you see first when a dog opens its mouth or bares its teeth. So having metallic canines will draw a person's attention and scare them more. If the dog is barking and someone sees the sunlight sparkling on his metal teeth, it may encourage the person to back down."
For the same reason, civil rights groups are alarmed at the trend to fit metal teeth, which they say is aimed as much at intimidating people as it is the welfare of the dogs. Emily Whitfield, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "Innocent bystanders and witnesses to crimes have been attacked by police dogs by mistake. It's bad enough being chased by a dog with just an ordinary set of teeth. Metal fangs just up the ante and seem to us to be overkill."
Mr Ellis said it was rare for Apak actually to use its teeth during an arrest because the sight of the dog was usually enough to persuade a suspect to come quietly. "Most people want to surrender to a dog, not be bitten by it, and of the 30 catches we made last year, only two were bitten."
"a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, said: "Innocent bystanders and witnesses to crimes have been attacked by police dogs by mistake. It's bad enough being chased by a dog with just an ordinary set of teeth. Metal fangs just up the ante and seem to us to be overkill."
It is rare indeed for me to agree with the ACLU about anything. But in this case, they are completely correct.
Wrap your legs in foil. If you have fillings, you'll understand.
Kinda like a horse for crowd control.You know the horse is not suppose to step on you.
The cop knows the horse isnt suppose to step on you.But does the horse know?
It's only a matter of time before saber toothed police dogs in little jack boots and camo face paint are running through the 'hood..
AR Fan, you have it a little mixed up about the horses. Horses avoid stepping on people because people are soft and mushy and very poor footing. The horse doesn't want to twist his relatively weak ankle by stepping on a soft squishy human.
The horse knows he's not going to step on you (on purpose). The cop knows the horse isn't going to step on you,. But you, if you don't know horses, don't know the horse isn't going to step on you.
Now, the police dog is a totally different story. The dog wants to tear your ass up. The cop knows the dog wants to tear your ass up. You damned well know the dog wants to tear your ass up. Everyone agrees on it, so you give up and let the nice cop put the cuffs on you :)
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