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K-9 Unit Receives Vest Donation

Post Date:08/04/2017 9:00 AM

Eight K-9s at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office are even safer on the streets now thanks to a generous donation by a Florida nonprofit.  

Protect the Paws gave eight custom made ballistic vests to the CCSO K-9 Unit this week to protect the dogs in the line of duty. The CCSO K-9s have always worn ballistic vests but the dogs were due for an upgrade.

“We help with the financial gaps agencies face because we believe these dogs deserve the same protection as the handler,” said Kathe Holmes, who founded Protect the Paws. 

Based in Miami, the group has been around for more than four years and has donated 102 vests to 23 law enforcement agencies across the country. Most donations for a particular agency are sourced in the immediate neighborhood where the K-9s will work.  

At more than $700 per vest, the donation helps agencies that don’t have the funds to replace old or worn out vests for their K-9s.  

“They’re usually good for about five years and then we replace them,” said Lt. John Poling of the CCSO K-9 Unit. “Same as the vests we wear.”

Lt. Poling said the new vests provide additional coverage to the dogs and will only be used in especially high-risk situations involving armed suspects or building searches.  

The vests were custom made for each dog. Each K-9 handler made five measurements to make the vests fit properly.  

Two of the eight vests donated to the CCSO were paid for through a fundraiser held at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston, Florida, to benefit the nonprofit.  

On Wednesday, all eight of the K-9s benefiting from the donation showed up to get their new vests and meet with Protect the Paws volunteers and Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. The vests fit perfectly and the K-9s looked sharp in Army green, with a custom logo embroidered on the chest.    

“We’re in awe of them,” Holmes said. “All K-9s. They’re amazing.”