HURRICANE, Utah - The Washington County Sheriff’s Office got a potentially life saving donation Thursday for one of it’s newest members. A local non-profit group outfitted the sheriff’s K9, Tess, with a bullet proof vest.
There are about 10 K9s working with different agencies throughout Washington County, but according to resident Cathy Williams, only about half of them have bullet proof vests. That’s why she decided to do something about it.
“I just wanted to make sure all of our police dogs in Washington County had this protection,” said Williams, who founded the group Vest Dixie’s Area Police K9’s. “I kept hearing too many stories about police dogs around the country getting killed, either stabbed to death or shot.”
Williams teamed up with local armament dealer TREAD to purchase their first military grade vests to donate to Tess. Handler Deputy Mike Graf said it will go a long way toward helping Tess be ready for any suspect encounter.
“To be able to protect them and give them the benefit of the same ballistics vests that we wear is great,” Graf said.
The vest retails at around $1,000, and while it may seem like a standard piece of material, budgets are tight and sometimes, as with the Washington County Sheriff’s unit, funds are not readily available.
“Our budgets for the K9 are small,” Garf said. “So without people stepping up and helping us out, it goes a huge distance.”
Williams said she was able to raise the funds for one vest in about three months. She hopes to continue those efforts to get all those dogs covered with that protection.
“Just knowing she’s going to be out there, with a lot more protection now, just makes me feel a lot better," Williams said.