Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club Vest-a-Dog Program

K-9 Police team, Cpl. Pinchik of the Princess Anne Police Department and his dog Max show off Max's bullet/stab proof vest to Tracie Bishop, Chair of the Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club's Vest-a-Dog Program. The vest was provided by the kennel club through donations.

Reported by Stephanie Douglass
New Program Gives K-9 Officers Bulletproof Vests

SALISBURY- Every day police officers risk their lives to keep you safe. But so do their four-legged friends. No matter how dangerous the situation, it is the job of K-9 cops to sniff out drugs, detect bombs and search and recover. "When people are in trouble, people call the police," said Tracie Earl of the Salisbury Kennel Club. "When the police are in trouble they call the K-9s." The risk-taking K-9 cops on Maryland's Lower Shore do not have much protection. But a new program started by the Salisbury Kennel Club will soon have all the dogs suited up with bulletproof vests. "These dogs will put their lives on the line and so we believed it was very important to get them bulletproof and stab resistant vests just like the officers have," Tracie said. "The vests that we're actually getting are bulletproof and stab resistant." Capt. Stuart Murray of the Worcester County Sheriff's Office said, "It's been a program we've wanted to implement, getting vests for the dogs, but we didn't have the funds to do so." The vests cost nearly $1,000 each and funds are tight. The program has only been able to buy 11 so far. And pups like "Cap'n," who assists Somerset County Sheriff's Dep. Brant Wilson, needs one. "It's a very needed thing," Wilson said. "The nature of what we do, he tracks. He's 20 feet ahead of me on a tracking line and I have to watch him exclusively and many times he finds the person before I ever see them." Pocomoke Police Department Cpl. Michael Strong's 2-year-old dog Noll is also on the waiting list. "It would make me feel a lot better for her, knowing that she would have a chance should something go bad, that she would have a chance of surviving," Strong said. At least four more vests are needed. And local law enforcement officers say they hope their dogs will not have to jump through too many hoops to get the protection they deserve. Anyone who would like to donate to the vest program can call the Salisbury Kennel Club at (410)548-2110.

Thank you to the following generous donors!
Rachel & Bruce Hensler of Hensler's Auto Center, 1612 Market Street, Pocomoke 410-957-0560 Donated $1,000. for Pocomoke Police Department ATF trained Bomb & Gun dog Noll, Cpl Strong partner/handler to receive a Special size Ballistic & Stab resistant vest.

Mr. Andy Gomez of Harbinger Mechanical Services, heating & a/c & refrigeration for Commercial & Residential, 9020 Parsonsburg Road, Delmar 410-749-0702. Donated $710. for Somerset County Sheriff's Department Criminal Search & Rescue dog Captn'. Deputy Wilson partner/handler to receive a regular size Ballistic & Stab resistant vest.

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