SCDNR’s K9 Rio receives donation of bulletproof vest

April 20, 2022

A dog wearing a K-9 vest

SCDNR’s K9 Rio is now equipped with a new bullet- and stab-resistant vest thanks to a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) K9 Rio received a bulletproof and stab-resistant vest thanks to a charitable donation from the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc. Embroidered on K9 Rio’s vest was the message, “In Memory of K9 Gabo of Jonesboro, Arkansas – Martyred in the Line of Duty January 16, 2020.”

SCDNR’s K-9 teams are used to investigate hunting and fishing violations throughout the state and are frequently called upon to assist other law enforcement agencies with a variety of calls, including missing persons and evidence searches.

“We are so grateful for this donation from Vested Interest in K9s,” said SCDNR Sergeant Freddie Earhart, Rio’s handler. “This donation will help ensure Rio’s safety as he performs his daily law enforcement duties.” Earhart and Rio are based in SCDNR Region 4, which typically covers coastal counties, but sometimes their assignments span the entire state.

Founded in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to provide bulletproof and stab-resistant vests and other support to police and agency dogs across the United States. This potentially life-saving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is made in the USA, custom-fitted and NIJ-certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,601 vests, valued at $6.9 million, to K9s in all 50 states through private and corporate donations.

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are 20 months of age or older and are active and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9 dogs with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 police dogs across the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s Inc. accepts tax-deductible donations of any amount, with a donation of $960 supporting one vest. Each vest is valued at $1,744 to $2,283, weighs an average of 4 to 5 pounds and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information or to volunteer, call (508) 824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at Alternatively, donations can be mailed to PO Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

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