Dusseldorf police dogs get fancy footwear

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BERLIN -- Police dogs in the western German city of Duesseldorf will no longer get their feet dirty when on patrol: The entire dog unit will soon be equipped with blue plastic fiber shoes, officials said Monday.

"All 20 of our police dogs -- German and Belgian shepherds -- are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."

The unusual footwear is not a fashion statement, Hartwich said, but rather a necessity due to the high rate of paw injuries on duty. In the city's historical old town in particular -- famous for both its pubs and drunken revelers -- the dogs often step into broken beer bottles, he said.

"Even the street cleaning doesn't manage to remove all the glass pieces from between the streets' cobblestones," Hartwich said.

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