Suited up

K9 Samson in his new bullet- and stab-protective vest. (Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

LAKE GEORGE, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife K9 Samson has received a bullet-and-stab protective vest, thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

The vest was sponsored by Troy DeCoux and friends of Pflugerville, Texas, and embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love – Trained to Serve – Loyal Always.”

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501(c)(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 nonprofit 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. has provided over 3,400 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies that 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 4-5 pounds. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Samson, a Belgian Malinois, certified with the National Police Canine Association for handler protection, fugitive apprehension and various wildlife species odor detection, is working hard to help protect Colorado’s natural resources and all of those who enjoy them. Samson’s handler, Ian Petkash, is the wildlife officer for the Lake George District.

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 tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, Mass., 02718.

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