Thornton canine officer receives vest through donations

2013-08-22T20:23:00Z 2013-08-22T23:47:06Z Thornton canine officer receives vest through donationsJeanette Lach (219) 933-3267 jeanette.lach@nwi.com nwitimes.com

THORNTON | When Officer Terry Houts of the Thornton Police Department received a new canine partner in 2009, the vest he had for Ado was just too big.

It had belonged to a previous police dog and, as Houts puts it, Ado was swimming in it.

But in February, Homewood Officer Kelly Misner, who is Facebook friends with Houts, forwarded information about a campaign by Groupon Grassroots to collect donations for canine bullet- and stab-resistant vests. The campaign partnered with Vested Interest in K9s Inc., an all-volunteer charity in Massachusetts whose mission it is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests for law enforcement dogs throughout the country.

The campaign ran from March 13 to 20, raising $155,537 that was used to vest 163 canine officers in 30 states, including Ado, according to Vested Interest's Facebook page. Since 2009, Vested Interest has provided 431 law enforcement dogs with vests throughout the country, according to its website.

The vests cost $950 each, are custom-made by Armor Express in Michigan and come with a five-year warranty.

Houts just got the vest on Aug. 13 for the 7-year-old German shepherd from Czechoslovakia.

Houts says the vest is needed because there have been times when Ado could have been wounded during assignments.

In one instance, Houts and Ado were at a burglary in progress.

"I was calling the suspect out from hiding ... and it was impossible to have a hand-to-hand combat with him, so the dog was sent in and he bit him in the arm and the side and the suspect came out," Houts said.

And the nice thing about the vest is that it's easy to place on Ado, Houts said.

"The dog doesn't have to have it on all day long," he said. "You can put it over his head and in less than 10 seconds I can have it on him and we're ready to roll."

To make an online donation or to learn more about the canine vest program, go to www.vik9s.org.

 

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