Lake County Sheriff’s Canine Zeus wears his new bullet and stab protective vest that was donated by a non-profit organization and private donors. | Provided Photo

Lake County Sheriff’s Office canines Zeus and Drako have received bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a donation from a non-profit organization sponsored by private donors.

Zeus’ vest was donated by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and embroidered with the sentiment “Gifted by B. Napolitano.”

The vest was sponsored by Oak Brook resident Barbara Napolitano.

Drako’s vest was also donated by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Brittany Piccola of Watchung, New Jersey. It is embroidered with the sentiment, “In honor of Nancy Plis.”

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.

Covelli said Thursday that the two canines recently received their donated vests.

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Lake County Sheriff’s Canine Drako wears his new bullet and stab protective vest that was donated by a non-profit organization and private donors. | Provided Photo

“Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has been such a tremendous partner for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and to law enforcement across the country. This amazing organization makes it their mission to ensure canines across the country are equipped with the same body armor as our deputies and police officers,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.

“We are very grateful for donors Barbara Napolitano and Brittany Piccola,” Idleburg said.

Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 5,100 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.

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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 $985 sponsors one vest.

Each vest has a value of $1,800, 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.