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.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.