(Family Features) A German Shepherd named Kilo was shot multiple times during a gun battle in Florida between police and a man suspected of shooting at officers earlier in the night. Fortunately for Kilo, he was wearing a protective vest, which saved his life. Unfortunately, thousands of other K-9s officers across the country perform their duties without proper protective wear, putting them in harm's way.
Bullet and stab protective vests cost around $1,000 each and many departments simply do not have the means to outfit their dogs. PetArmor®, known for its products that protect pets from fleas and ticks, is helping to ensure more K-9s are protected while in the line of duty. Through a yearlong partnership with Vested Interest in K-9s, PetArmor® is providing funding for bullet and stab protective vests for law enforcement teams throughout the United States.
"These dogs are out 30 feet in front of us and need these vests," said Officer Vinnie Curcio, with the Jupiter, Fla., Police Department, which is one of the police departments benefiting from the donation. "They're leading us into dark, wooded areas after some of the most violent people."
Police forces in most major cities use police dogs to track criminals, sniff out illegal materials, search buildings, and do other jobs human police officers can't do as well as a dog can. Additionally, their sense of smell is tens of thousands of times more sensitive than that of humans, making them ideal for their duties.
Beyond their sense of smell, successful police dogs have exceptional intelligence and strength. Most police dogs are male, and are frequently left unneutered so that they maintain their natural aggression. This aggression must be kept in check with thorough and rigorous training.
The most popular breeds used as police dogs are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and occasionally mixes of these breeds. Other breeds used include Bloodhounds for detection and scent work, and Labrador Retrievers for narcotics and explosives detection.
"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, Inc. "Thanks to PetArmor®, many more police dogs will be protected from harm while they protect their neighborhoods and towns."