New Orleans police halt arrests using dogs

Oct. 11, 2010 at 11:03 AM

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- New Orleans police have suspended using dogs while making arrests, a spokeswoman said.

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas decided to stop using dogs to make apprehensions pending "appropriate training," Hilal Williams told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune.

A study by the U.S. Department of Justice uncovered "deficiencies" in the program, Williams said. She would not give details, and did not specify the length of the suspension.

In 2009, two police dogs died after being left unattended. One died of heat stroke after being left in a police car. An officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty and was ordered to pay $11,500 in restitution.

Another dog died after falling 17 stories down an elevator shaft at Charity Hospital. Prosecutors dismissed animal malfeasance charges last week against a police sergeant.

Although the K9s will not be used for apprehension, they will still be used to sniff for bombs and narcotics, Williams said. If New Orleans needs a dog to make an arrest, the sheriff of neighboring Jefferson Parish will provide one, she said.

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