The number of Latinos and African-Americans bitten by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department canines have dramatically increased in the past few years, a new study released earlier this week states.
While the annual dog bites for whites, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders remained very low from the years 2004 to 2012, the number of K-9 unit attacks on Latinos and African-Americans rose in the same period.
"In the first six months of this year, 100 percent of the dog bites were of blacks and Latinos," the report stated, adding that a total of 17 dog bites had been reported up to June, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The number of Hispanics bitten by dogs increased 30 percent, from 30 bites in 2004 to 39 in 2012 ,and the number of African-Americans bitten increased 33 percent for the same time period, from 9 to 12.
The report’s researchers found that the majority of the attacks occurred in neighborhood’s deemed by lawn enforcement to “high-crime” areas and that five sheriff's stations — Century, Lennox, Compton, Lakewood and City of Industry — had the highest number of bites, more than all the other 21 stations combined.
The study was conducted by Merrick Bobb, president of the Police Assessment Resource Center, a nonprofit group, and is the 33rd semiannual report to be released. Bobb was brought on as a special counsel to the county Board of Supervisors following a 1992 report highlighted a series of problems in the department.
That year was also the year of the infamous L.A. riots that saw widespread looting and arson along with the death of 53 people and more than 2,000 people injured.
The latest study was prompted by the increasing number of people apprehended by the department’s canine unit and looked at disciplinary procedures regarding sheriff's deputies.
One reason for the increase in dog attacks, the report cited, was a lack of supervision in the canine unit. Researchers made a number of recommendations including employing alternative use-of-force measures, tracking bite incidents for individual dogs and handlers and improving other canine deployment policies.