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Jaws

March 15, 1992

I was stunned by "A Biting Controversy," and as I read the reasoning for the "find and bite" activities of the K-9 units, I couldn't help thinking that Los Angeles had finally found a way to detach itself from the rest of civilized society.

I was a member of the San Francisco Police Department's canine unit for eight years. We worked the city's toughest neighborhoods. During those eight years, I made 300 to 400 felony arrests with my dog. In all that time, the dog bit one suspect.

Eliminating cruel and unnecessary use of police dogs is the only thing that will save police dog units around the country. I'll bet there are hundreds of cops in the L.A. area who are silently hoping that the mess will be straightened out. Lawsuits may help, as taxpayers are pragmatic; they'll respond when it hits their wallets. But I've been wrong about Los Angeles before. It didn't fall into the ocean as I had predicted.

CAPT. CHARLES BEENE, RETIRED

Billings, Mont.

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