updated 2/3/2004 6:22:58 PM ET 2004-02-03T23:22:58

A police dog has been suspended while investigators try to determine whether the animal has something against black children.

The dog, a German shepherd named Dolpho, was cleared two years ago of attacking a child because he was black. But Dolpho was removed from duty on Monday after biting another black child.

Dolpho attacked a 14-year-old black girl on Jan. 28 during a crime-prevention demonstration at a school but did not break the youngster’s skin. The girl’s parents said a white student petted the dog without incident before he attacked their daughter.

In 2002, town officials ordered a two-month investigation to determine if Dolpho was singling out blacks while on patrol after the dog escaped from police vehicle and bit a 9-year-old black boy playing nearby. The dog was taken off duty, retrained for two months and returned to the force.

City Councilwoman Wanda Jones Dixon, who is black, complained about the dog in 2002 and renewed her request that the animal be retired from the police force or put to sleep.

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