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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

LAPD to Train Officers in Handling Vicious Animals

July 20, 1999

LOS ANGELES — Having shot and killed 98 dogs in the last two years, the Los Angeles Police Department is launching a training program to help officers handle vicious animals.

Officers in West Los Angeles will undergo training by city animal control experts as part of an effort to reduce the number of dogs killed each year, said Dan Knapp, general manager of the Animal Regulation Department.

"I think that will help them respond with less deadly force," Knapp said.

LAPD Cmdr. Dan Koenig said 98 dogs were shot by officers in the two years ending this past April, often in cases in which officers were responding to calls of dogs attacking children.

"It's just the nature of the business in this city that you get dogs attacking people, and we have to step in and do something," Koenig told the council's Public Safety Committee on Monday.

Koenig said his officers often can respond much faster to a call for help from a citizen than city animal control officers can.

"Certainly we'd like to respond as quickly as we possibly can," Knapp said. "With a lack of staffing, we can't do so."

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