GALLIPOLIS — A Gallia County 4-H group has raised enough money to buy a protective vest for one of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office canine units and delivered it Friday afternoon to the unit.
“Pennies for Protection” is the name of a project led by the Gallia County 4-H Club the K-9 Korps to outfit all local police canine units with protective vests. According to Brea Elliot, group advisor, the group trains dogs and teaches children about training method specifics and where those methods originate. A member’s 4-H project is about building a relationship with that member’s animal.
Canine officer Bundi is the first of four dogs anticipated to receive vests. According to his handler, Deputy Steve Heater, he is four-years-old.
Money raising efforts for the protective vest have been ongoing during 2015 to the present day.
According to statistics previously given by Elliot, in 2015, there have been 116 police canine killings nationally. Of those, 36 were gun shots, 34 were knife or wounds inflicted by things like broken bottles, and 46 deaths were caused by automobiles driving into dogs.
Elliot said the group needs $402.12 to reach its goal of providing another canine unit with a vest and has an open “Pennies for Protection” account with Ohio Valley Bank for those wishing to donate. There is also a gofundme.com webpage for the project at www.gofundme.com/2s6ewbrs.
In years past, a Gallia County police dog named Jack was stabbed in the line of service, he lived but retired shortly after receiving his injury.
“These vests are military grade,” Elliot said. “They’re lighter and made to keep the dogs cooler. The vests can withstand a four-inch spike and a .45 Magnum. The vests also help displace damage from a car collision.”
The vests have a “shelf life” of five years and run about $850 each.
“We’re thrilled with it (the vest),” Heater said. “It’s a good thing for him to have. I think just this week there’s already been two canines killed (nationally).”
“We just want to thank the group for their efforts,” said Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning. “It further helps us provide for the canine program which benefits the citizens of Gallia County and benefits the kids to work towards a project which benefits public service, safety and learning.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.