The Vest-A-Dog Network is actively working to outfit police dogs with protective vests. Started in 1999, with funds were raised by a local girl for Tiko who was a replacement dog for another who was killed in action, the movement has grown.
You can donate directly via the Vest-A-Dog website to support the featured canine protector or you can read about how to start your own local network on the site.
The program funds a K-9 One™ vest to sponsored police dog units. These vests are made with Dupont Kevlar, the same material found in protective vests for human police officers. The vests are designed to be bulletproof, stabproof and to protect against blunt force trauma.
A vest for protection against stabbing and bullets currently costs US$825 which is why many local units have difficulty finding the funds to protect their canine officers.
The New Zealand Police have stated (on their website) that they looked at an Australian vest in 2008/09 and decided that the vest would not have protected dogs that were previously injured on the line of duty.
However, I wonder that if with shootings like that of police dog Gage in Christchurch in July 2010, if the NZ Police should look at alternatives. I’ve emailed them with details of the Vest-A-Dog project.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand