SWEETWATER COUNTY, Wyo. — Deena has a little spring in her step these days. Maybe it’s the confidence boost from her brand-new body armor.
Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office K9 Deena, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois who works as a drug detection and patrol dog, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
K9 Deena’s vest is sponsored by Mark Riccardi of Monument, Colorado, and will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Tuk.”
Delivery is expected within 8-10 weeks.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts 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 nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers.
Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 3,830 U.S. made, custom fitted, NIJ certified protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $6.9 million dollars.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $960.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 and $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.
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