Protecting Police Dogs

Protecting Police Dogs

By Stephen Owsinski

Every time I realize another police canine is gifted life-saving ballistic vests sponsored by the National Police Association —made possible thanks to the patronage of pro-police subscribers’ generosity and caring hearts— I am contented knowing they fight the good fight with protective barriers on their bodies.

Generally, it is larger law enforcement entities that more readily find funds to outfit their contingent of police canines, purchasing ballistic vests tailored to the dog’s body size. The respective agency’s sovereign emblem is embroidered on the protective vest.

Comprising most of America’s 18,000-plus law enforcement organizations, it is smaller police forces and sheriff’s departments that ordinarily encounter difficulties with securing the financial means to procure protective properties for its canine(s).

Thankfully, with the support of its subscribers, the National Police Association facilitates ballistic vests for a growing number of modest police outfits that lack the monetary means to armor their four-legged public safety partners.

Much of the police dog-pertinent information I anticipated writing about was recently published by our friends serving with the Hudson Police Department and reposted on NPA’s social media.

‘Hudson Police Department’s K9 Kiro to Get Donation of Body Armor’

“Hudson Police Department’s K9 Kiro will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Kiro’s vest is sponsored by the National Police Association and will be embroidered with the sentiment ‘Gifted by’ Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.

“Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, 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.

“This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S.-made, custom-fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 5,289 vests to K9s 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. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

“Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $985 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1800.00, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty.”For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.”

That is the meat and potatoes involved in generously solidifying the longevity of these hard-charging law enforcement animals that have zero quit in them.

San Diego Police ‘K9 Hondo’ Saved by Vest

This morning, I came across a thought-provoking image posted by the San Diego Police Department, the accompanying narrative explaining how one of its police dogs was injured during a SWAT operation…and how, were it not for the canine’s protective vest, K9 Hondo may have been prepped for a police funeral instead of recuperative time, salivating with dreams of his Kong chew toy.

(Photo courtesy of the San Diego Police Department.)

Provided by the San Diego Police public information officer, here are the details explaining K9 Hondo’s line-of-duty injury:

On October 27, 2023, “during a SWAT operation, K9 Hondo was attacked and stabbed. Thanks to his protective vest, all but one of the injuries were deflected, and we are deeply grateful that his injuries are not life-threatening.

“This is the second time K-9 Hondo has been subjected to such a violent act (see following image depicting a shaved patch of fur). The suspect involved in this incident has been apprehended.

(Photo courtesy of the San Diego Police Department.)

“We want to commend Hondo and his handler for their bravery and resilience. Hondo will spend the coming days recovering at home, and we ask for your thoughts and well wishes during this time. We would also like to thank the VCA [emergency animal hospital] for their actions to help Hondo.

“The safety of our officers, both human and K9, remains our top priority. We are constantly reminded of the dangers they face every day to protect our community.”

(Photo courtesy of the San Diego Police Department.)

In the full-view image, notice K9 Hondo’s blood staining his handler’s duty pants…and what appears to be a freshly donned “soft” uniform shirt with not a drop of bio-matter on it (meaning a likely change of top due to spillage of K9 Hondo’s red stuff). This illustrates the depth of love canine partnerships have for one another and the dedication to duty, often enough engendering the stark reality of casualties sustained in the line of duty, such as stabbed or shot dogs…and the aftermath snapshots recorded during emergency veterinary care.

Amazingly, the community of America’s police heroes has among them these “fur missiles” who harbor zero hesitation when duty calls to confront evils wielding weapons and the will to kill. Hence, the crucial factor of equipping all crimefighters with the protective means to successfully apprehend malevolent elements and walk away without any physical damage, forging forward to fight the good fight repeatedly.

We certainly owe it to these hard-working, courageous, fearless crime fighters.