Posted: Oct. 1, 2013, 6:30 p.m. EDT
One by one, police dogs serving cities small and large are being dressed for battle in donated protective vests.
PetArmor, in a yearlong partnership with Vested Interest in K-9s, is paying for bullet- and knife-resistant vests in Texas, Florida and Maryland.
Four police dogs have died from gunshots and one from a stabbing while in the line of duty in 2013, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that recently added police dogs to its roster of the fallen.
Some police agencies cannot afford vests for their K-9 officers, reported PetArmor, an Omaha, Neb., manufacturer of flea and tick treatments. PetArmor is a brand of Perrigo Co.
Austin, Texas, police dogs now wear protective vests courtesy of PetArmor.
and Vested Interest in K-9s, an East Taunton, Mass., nonprofit group dedicated to providing police dogs with protective vests, have helped 25 dogs in Texas, Florida and Maryland. The vests cost $1,000 each.
In September, four police agencies received vests:
• Nine teams in the Austin, Texas, K-9 patrol unit.
• Four teams with the Jupiter, Fla., Police Department.
• Five Riviera Beach, Fla., K-9 teams.
• Seven teams in the Baltimore Police Department.
"My patrol K-9
unit assists patrol officers with apprehensions and searches and evidence,” said Austin police Sgt. Chris Gwaldo. "We also assist the SWAT team and various other units throughout the department.
"Our entire patrol unit will be more fully protected while on the job,” he added.
Since 2009, Vested Interest in K-9s has raised more than $400,000 to provide 437 K-9 vests to police
"Police K-9 units provide an invaluable service to their community and deserve the same kind of protection as their human counterparts,” said Sandy Marcal, founder of Vested Interest in K-9s.
All K-9s in the Jupiter Police Department have vests.
"Our K-9 officers are risking their lives every day to protect and serve, and we’re thrilled to be able to protect them, too,” said Jupiter police Sgt. Scott Pascarella.
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