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"We've had the option to do that for years if we went through the training, but we've chosen not to. I've been associated with this organization for 36 years, and I never felt a need to carry a weapon," Mr. Smith said. "That's just my principles. If I run into a situation where I need backup, I call the local police.

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Mr. Bengal, who works out of the Burberry Laptop Bag

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work together.

One officer was assaulted, and two others were shot at while serving a warrant for a 16 year old youth who tried to escape from them, Mr. Bengal said.

one officer in Western Pennsylvania. She works out of the Bedford, Bedford County, area, Mr. Bengal said.

Mr. Bengal said the SPCA also calls in police officers when serving warrants.

"That's an individual choice of each humane society," said Mr. Bengal. Humane societies and animal rescue leagues are separate from the SPCA, he said, although some agencies Burberry Duffle Bag Sale

The two officers most recently hired by the agency already had completed training with weapons, Mr. Bengal said. The rest, he said, will be trained in the weeks ahead.

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The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has another goal this year: preventing risk to its officers.

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"I think a lot of people have the Prada Bags Prices impression that a lot of our calls are just like a dog without shelter, that type of thing," Mr. Bengal said. "But the majority of the calls now that we're getting are animal fighting calls, and we're getting search warrants and making arrests.

The SPCA has only Burberry Bags Wholesale

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"But the officers here have to go out on their own," he said. "And we're not always able to have the police available at the immediate time. There's danger no matter where you go, when you do law enforcement work."

Ron Smith, chief officer with the WPHS, said officers with his agency will not carry weapons.

Reports involving dog fighting cases have more than doubled since NFL quarterback Michael Vick was arrested in a highly publicized bust in 2007. But those incidents have been concentrated in the Philadelphia area, where most of the SPCA's officers are based.

Philadelphia area, stressed that the 14 officers employed by the SPCA will not use the weapons on animals. The weapons are "strictly for self defense" when officers are confronted by hostile people while investigating complaints and serving warrants.

"I've had my officers assaulted and at various times threatened," said George Bengal, director of law enforcement for the SPCA. "Bottom line is [the weapons are] just to be used for their protection."

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"I have a bite stick, a baton, to protect myself against vicious animals. But I don't feel there's a need for me to carry a weapon," he said. "I don't get into confrontations. We do go into some areas that we are uncomfortable with, but if a situation's getting out of hand, I step away and bring in the [police]."

"We're running into this more and more," he said. "In fact, the last 15 search warrants [we've served], we've recovered drugs and guns."

Humane officers to start carrying guns for defense

"Most of the people involved in dog fighting are involved in other criminal activities," he said. "In the last six to seven months, we've recovered numerous drugs and weapons on the people and the property where we're serving search warrants."

Officers in other branches of animal enforcement, such as numerous humane societies around the state, are permitted to carry guns. But many, including those working with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, do not.

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