Four Lake County Sheriff’s Office canines — Ryker, Danno, Dax and Duke — have received their new bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from a non-profit organization.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, which has five canine units, only received vests for four of their canines because canine Boomer’s vest is still in working condition and not due to expire for two more years.
The vests, which were donated by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., are embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring Blue Paws Strong.”
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, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said.
“We are so thankful for this generous donation of body armor for our canines, as we need to protect our four-legged deputies just as we do our human deputies! All of our canines are equipped with armor for their protection,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“The armor previously worn by canines Dax and Duke was going to expire, so they, along with canines Ryker and Danno now have the most current protection. Canine Boomer’s armor is still current, but we will replace it as soon as it reaches its shelf-life,” Idleburg said.
Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,500 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.
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.