Changing dental marketplace 
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 Changing dental marketplace

While the traditional cavity-business is on the decline there is tremendous
opportunity in canineology. However, the SPCA and JanDrew are voicing
protest over implanting metals in canine's mouths. Remmber, if your dog's
immune system is b-a-a-a-d, CHECK THE CANINES, I mean CHECK THE


Metal teeth give US police dog a new bite
By David Wastell in Washington

AMERICAN police dogs are being equipped with a new weapon in the fight
against crime: titanium false teeth designed to improve their bite - and
their grip - on anyone trying to escape the law.
Apak, an 80lb alsatian attached to a sheriff's department in rural Florida,
is one of hundreds of dogs whose snarl has been enhanced by modern dental
techniques. Apak was never cuddly, but now when he bares his teeth he
presents an unnerving sight: two glinting, metal canines in its upper jaw,
tough enough to keep a grip on almost anything that moves.
"Before he had these fitted, he was hesitant to bite," said Tim Ellis, a
sheriff's department deputy who has worked with dogs in Polk County, 40
miles south of Orlando, Florida, for the past five years. "Both these teeth
were damaged and it was interfering with his work. We had to do something to
maintain his biting proficiency and getting the titanium teeth fitted seemed
the best solution."
The fitting of metallic teeth to extend the working life of dogs such as
Apak is catching on across America, as the police and military look for ways
to save money. It costs less for a dentist to fit Apak's teeth - $600 (400)
per tooth - than it would to obtain and train a replacement animal, which
could cost more than $10,000 (6,800). An estimated 600 dogs a year are
equipped with the new teeth, most of them working dogs of one kind or
Alsatians often break or damage their canine teeth, the four longest and
most noticeable teeth in their mouths, during training or when they gnaw on
their cages, which can make it painful for them to bite.
Jim Watson, the secretary of the North American Police Work Dogs
Association, and an expert in training dogs, said: "The four big canines are
what you see first when a dog opens its mouth or bares its teeth. So having
metallic canines will draw a person's attention and scare them more. If the
dog is barking and someone sees the sunlight sparkling on his metal teeth,
it may encourage the person to back down."
For the same reason, civil rights groups are alarmed at the trend to fit
metal teeth, which they say is aimed as much at intimidating people as it is
the welfare of the dogs. Emily Whitfield, a spokesman for the American Civil
Liberties Union, said: "Innocent bystanders and witnesses to crimes have
been attacked by police dogs by mistake. It's bad enough being chased by a
dog with just an ordinary set of teeth. Metal fangs just up the ante and
seem to us to be overkill."
Mr Ellis said it was rare for Apak actually to use its teeth during an
arrest because the sight of the dog was usually enough to persuade a suspect
to come quietly. "Most people want to surrender to a dog, not be bitten by
it, and of the 30 catches we made last year, only two were bitten."
20 February 2001: [UK News] Officers 'colluded' to save police dog
13 February 2001: [UK News] German shepherd is still top dog for police work
26 January 2001: More bulletproof police dogs

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