The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) this week announced that K9 Grizzly has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

K9 Grizzly’s vest was sponsored by Judith and David Cataldi of North Scituate and embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.”

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 some 4,481 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 $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lbs., 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 www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to PO Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.   

For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).