Far-Left Vice News Claims Police Dogs are Racist

The outlet cited dogs being used by slave owners.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Vice News has asserted that the use of dogs to track people was invented by slave owners and that the police dogs of today are inherently racist.
  • “The police K-9 is undoubtedly tied to America’s racist origins, since well before their use became synonymous with race-based violence,” Vice said in the article.
  • The piece also cites the hospital visits due to police-dog bites, saying they cause more hospitalizations than any other type of police force.
  • Vice’s analysis claims the vast majority of those affected by police dog bites are black, accounting for about 42% of male victims between 2005 and 2013.
  • The article asserts that southern U.S. towns talked about using dogs to further racist goals in the late 19th century and local sheriffs reportedly held demonstrations using black people as bait.
  • The article cited the use of dogs by law enforcement when patrolling predominately black neighborhoods.
  • Police pushed back against complaints of their use of dogs, saying that their presence was because of disproportionate crime in those areas.  
  • The article also cites the use of German Shepards as evidence of racism, citing a quote from Adolf Hitler where he is said to have “referred to the German shepherd as the canine equivalent to the Aryan race.”
CLAIMS FROM THE ARTICLE:
  • “For more than 500 years, dogs have been used by the powerful as a tool to oppress minorities. We spoke to experts about how this age-old institution has evolved, and how its [sic] managed to persist into the present despite its depraved and racist origins,” the Vice article reads.
  • “As far back as the 16th century, when Spain owned what is now Florida, European nations used ‘bloodhounds’ to attack and intimidate Indigenous populations and to prevent slaves—mostly Black Africans—from fleeing.”
  • The article goes on to talk about the use of K-9 units in the 1950s, saying, “The rise of civil and racial unrest in the South pushed police to double down on using dogs for crowd control. In 1957, Baltimore became the first city to formally adopt the modern version of the K-9 unit, and St. Louis followed suit the following year.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The National Police Dog Foundation breaks K-9 dogs into two types, patrol dogs, used for officer protection, suspect apprehension, or other security measures, and detection dogs, used to find narcotics or explosives.
  • The foundation confirms that dogs have been used by law enforcement since the Middle Ages, and the breeds used include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, and Labrador Retrievers