Police Dog Accused of Racial Profiling Tuesday, June 11, 2002 McKEES ROCKS, Pa. â€” A Pennsylvania councilwoman has accused her borough's lone police dog of racial profiling, leading to calls that the canine be killed. Dolpho, a 5-year-old German shepherd, can sniff out the difference between marijuana, heroin and cocaine. The dog came from Europe two years ago and is trained in drug detection and patrol. But councilwoman Wanda Jones Dixon said Dolpho can also tell the difference between blacks and whites, and should be put to sleep. On Friday, while K-9 officer Schawn Barger wrestled with a drug suspect, he said a quick-release button on his belt was activated, accidentally opening a door to the K-9 wagon. The dog lunged from the vehicle and bit a 9-year-old boy on the leg instead of the suspect, dragging him for about 20 feet, family members said. The boy is black. Councilwoman Dixon told the city council she has received six complaints about Dolpho in the past year. Three of the people who complained were involved with drugs. Three others were blacks who believe the dog jumped at or attacked them because of their race. "I had received complaints from African-Americans saying they believe the dog only attacks African-Americans," councilwoman Dixon said Monday. "I think the dog makes the distinction." Officer Barger, who has worked with Dolpho for more than two years and takes the dog home with him at night, said the dog has never gone after the wrong person before. He said Dolpho became confused during a tense situation. "The dog saw movement. There was a lot of noise â€” a lot of screaming," Barger said. "It was basically just complete chaos and the dog, he just could not tell who the bad guy was and who the good people were." The boy was treated for a dog bite and released Friday. He limped into the council meeting Monday with his mother, Lorraine Livingston. "This is something that will take him a while to get over," Livingston said. "The officer had no control over that animal. That dog should be put to sleep." Experts differ on whether dogs can discern race. The owner of the Tom Brenneman School for Canines near Lawrence, Kan., has trained more than 600 dogs for police departments nationwide. He said dogs determine targets by scent alone and see only gray and white. Tom Brenneman said the dogs can be trained to recognize the scent of drugs, explosives and also that dogs can smell fear. "As far as it being black or white or Hispanic, that doesn't have anything to do with it," he said. A national expert on animal behavior at Tuft's University School of Veterinary Medicine said dogs not only can determine race, but can develop prejudices similar to humans. Dr. Nick Dodman said that prejudice can be based on a lack of exposure to different people or because of a bad experience. Dolpho has since been taken off active duty, but the department is standing behind him. Chief Robert Martineau said the dog is good around children and even visits area schools and day care centers. "To say the dog is racial ... that's ludicrous. That doesn't make sense," Martineau said. No decision was made on Dolpho's future Monday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.