California Democrats want to ban police dogs from biting suspects

California’s canine cops could soon be all bark and no bite.

Two state lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would ban law enforcement agencies from using police dogs in situations where the animals could bite someone — saying the practice is “deeply racialized.”

“The use of police canines has inflicted brutal violence and lifelong trauma on black Americans and communities of color,” the bill’s co-author, Assemblymember Corey Jackson, said in a statement. “This bill marks a turning point in the fight to end this cruel and inhumane practice and build trust between the police and the communities they serve.”

The legislation, co-authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, would prohibit the use of K-9s during arrests, apprehensions and crowd-control activities.

Police would still be able to use the animals for search and rescue and explosive and narcotics detection under the Democrats’ bill.

“We’re trying to make sure people are not harmed and seriously injured by using K-9s,” Jackson said during a press conference announcing the bill.

Police dogs seriously injured 186 people in California in 2020 and 2021, he added.

“Many of these bites can cause lifelong injuries — so let’s make this clear: lifelong injuries before you’re proven guilty.”

Supporters of the bill said the use of police dogs dates back to slavery.

“Police canines have roots in slavery and have been used as tools of oppression for black, brown, and other communities of color,” said Rick Callender, president of the CA/HI NAACP. “With this bill, we sever ties with the terrorizing past and move towards a brighter future.”

Activists cited cases of people who were permanently deformed due to police dog attacks and said the dogs have been used on people suspected of minor offenses with no discretion.

Police dog experts criticized the bill.

“The number of dogs that are on the street reduce the number of assaults on officers and the number of officer-involved shootings, which ultimately would also probably save the life of a number of suspects that otherwise would have been on the receiving end of gunfire,” retired K-9 handler Bob Eden told KTVU.

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