Four of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s five canines will be getting bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from a non-profit organization.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office canines Ryker, Danno, Dax and Duke will receive the vests, which are being donated by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
Canine Boomer will not be receiving a vest because his current vest does not expire for two more years.
The vests are embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring Blue Paws Strong.” Delivery is expected within 8-10 weeks, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. was established in 2009 and is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States.
The potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged officers is made in the United States, custom fitted, and NIJ certified, Covelli said.
Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,450 vests to canines in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.
The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. Canines with expired vests are also eligible to participate.
There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement canines throughout the United States.
“Our canines are an incredible asset to Lake County. We want to ensure our four-legged deputies have all the protection possible and we are very grateful to Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. for helping make this possible,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount. A donation of $960 sponsors one vest.
Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 pounds, and comes with a five-year warranty.
Those interested in more information or who want to learn about volunteer opportunities can call 508-824-6978.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org.