Sheriff Richard Giardino issued a news release indicating his office’s K9 Grip has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.
The vest was sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by 12-year-old Brady Arnold from Ravena, founder of Brady’s K9 Saviors. The vest is embroidered with the sentiment “Gifted by Brady’s K9 Saviors.”
Giardino thanked Arnold for his efforts in raising funds to ensure that Grip got his vest. Grip and his handler, Corporal Damon Stewart, are assigned to the sheriff’s road patrol evening shift. Without organizations such as Vested Interest in K9s and the local New York state Brady’s K9 Saviors, smaller agencies like the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office would not be able to afford vests and other equipment for the K9 Unit, the sheriff said.
“I think it’s refreshing for us to have a 12-year-old raise money not only for us, but other K9 groups,” Giardino said Thursday.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, Mass., 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 non-profit 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 3,500 American made, custom-fitted, NIJ-certified protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations at a value of $6.9 million dollars.
Brady’s K9 Saviors not only fundraises to purchase ballistic vests, but also raises funds for K9 trainings, K9 trauma kits (in the event the K9 is injured), training equipment, and he has even purchased three working K9’s in the county in which he resides.
The release said Brady Arnold believes that all officers should come home safe after their shift, including those with wet noses. His mission is to vest and protect all working K9s and he takes action as soon as he is informed that funds are needed. In talking with Brady, the release said a person will quickly learn that he is adamant that dogs are “angels here on earth.”
Those choosing to donate to Brady’s K9 Saviors may do so by PayPal at [email protected]; via mail at Brady’s K9 Saviors, 13 Winnie Ave., Ravena, NY 12143; and at any SEFCU branch under his account.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the United States 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 $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 to $2,283, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of four to five pounds. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call: 508-824-6978.
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at vik9s.org. The public can also mail: P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, Mass. 02718.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]