K9 Mao to get body armor

Wilmington Police Department’s canine officer, Mao, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc.
Mao’s vest is sponsored by Cathy Stein of Lincolnwood, IL. It will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Cathy Stein.”
Delivery is expected within eight to 10 weeks.
Vested Interest in K9s Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts. Its mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States.
The non-profit was established in 2009 to help law enforcement agencies obtain this potentially life saving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. has provided over 2,700 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over $ 2.1 million.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New canine graduates and canines with expired vests are eligible to participate.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement canine is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 and $2,283, a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4 to 5 pounds. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement canines throughout the United States.
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 tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or via mail to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA, 02718.
Chief Phil Arnold and Mao’s handler, Officer Kris Hopper, are thrilled about this generous gift. Since the team hit the streets earlier this year the canine’s safety has always been a concern.
“Officers are trained in tactics that will help them in dangerous situations, but, as smart as canine Mao is, that is not what he is trained to do,” Chief Arnold said. “It’s always surprising how many reports we hear about police dogs being injured by suspects … it would be devastating.”