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Officers Take Action To Decrease Bite Of Gangs Cite Owners Of Dogs Used To Intimidate Authorities, Neighbors

Gang members apparently have found a new way to hold authorities and other enemies at bay, so on Friday, police developed a unique partnership to take a bite out of their attempts.

Long Beach police and animal control officers swept the streets of the south and west sides of the city during the afternoon and evening, citing suspected gang members who use pit bulls in a threatening manner against police, neighbors and other gang members.

‘We’ve evidently got gang members using pit bulls for intimidating and to guard their property,” said Cpl. Harry Erickson. “Even police have been put off.”

Eight pit bull owners were cited for unlicensed pets Friday. Three of these animals were mothers of recent litters, said officer John Watkins. The owners have 10 days to bring their proof-of-rabies shots.

Watkins said some of the pit bulls also are used to fight other dogs.

The sweep covered the south division between 10th and Ocean and Cherry to Golden. “I’m very happy with the results,” Watkins said. He, spent six hours on the sweep along with Officer Cory Brown and Wesly Moore of the Long Beach Animal Shelter.

Watkins said he expects there will be more such sweeps. “Breeding is very popular at this time,” he said.

Police could not seize the dogs, Erickson said, but owners were cited for any improprieties. Authorities concentrated on areas where they have received complaints about pit bulls in the past.