FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT K–9 UNIT “HELPING PAWS FOR THE HOLIDAYS”
The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department recently participated in “Helping Paws for the Holidays,” an event held in Lakeville, MA and sponsored by the organization “Vested Interest In K–9s of Massachusetts.”
Vested Interest in K–9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) non–profit charitable organization dedicated to providing bullet protective vests to Massachusetts police dogs, including local police departments, county sheriff’s offices, Massachusetts State Police, Transit Police (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), U.S. Air Force–Hanscom, and U.S. Coast Guard–Gloucester. The vests cost an average of $735 each.
Initiated to raise funds to support the organization’s goal of providing vests for each of the 20 Massachusetts Police dogs awaiting a bullet protective vest, the event began on November 27th and was held on each successive weekend through Sunday, December 19th.
As one of the main attractions for the event each weekend, several area law enforcement agencies provided representatives from their respective K–9 Units to perform demonstrations of the work that officers and their dogs undertake on a daily basis. Attending on behalf of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department for one of the weekend events, Sergeant Corey Lewis showcased his K–9 partner Kam’s abilities as both a locator and apprehender as Corporal Tim Frates – clad in a protective “bite suit” – acted as the target. Sgt. Lewis was also presented with a bullet protective vest for his partner Kam by the organization on behalf of AVON of Plymouth, Massachusetts, which donated the funds to purchase the vest.
Seargent Brian Stack of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department also attended the day’s events and later spoke about his appreciation of Vested Interest In K–9s efforts.
“The main reason that we perform these K–9 demonstrations is to teach the general public about what police dogs are capable of doing to help law enforcement,” said Sgt. Stack. “Most people think they just bite the bad guy. But, they are also locating tools – whether it be locating narcotics, explosives, missing children or suspects. The bite of the canine only comes into play when the suspect refuses to surrender and poses a threat to the public.”
“I am thrilled that Boz, my K–9 partner, will soon have a properly fitted vest,” Sgt. Stack continued. “He currently uses the vest of my former canine partner, Mickey. Mickey was much shorter than Boz is and his current vest leaves his chest area vulnerable to blunt trauma, puncture or gunshot wounds. Sandy Marcal and Vested Interest In K–9s have done an unbelievable job vesting not only Boz, but hundreds of canines throughout New England.”
As the President of Vested Interest In K–9s, Sandy Marcal is a lifelong proponent of animal rescue and protection with more than nine years of commitment to the cause of providing bullet protective vests for K–9s within the Massachusetts law enforcement community. Speaking about the fundraiser, Marcal explained the motivation behind her efforts and those of the organization.
“These dogs are in the line of fire,” said Marcal. “They’re the front line for our officers and they’re the first ones into a potentially dangerous situation. They deserve the same protection as the officers get because they’re protecting the officers and they are protecting us.”
Expressing her thanks to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department for their continued support, Marcal was optimistic about achieving her goal of outfitting all of the remaining law enforcement K–9s on her current list.
“It was a pleasure to recently present K–9 Kam with his new bullet protective vest during our Holiday event and we have also ordered a vest for K–9 Boz as well,” said Marcal. “It’s been a great holiday season for our organization and folks have been so generous about donating. I am hopeful that we’ll meet our goal of outfitting all Massachusetts police dogs with new vests and replacing their expired vests.”