Community says K9 officers should be better protected |

Community says K9 officers should be better protected

Police officers face dangerous situations, but K-9 officers are often asked to go into the unknown alone. In a contest of “You go first. No, you,” the dogs always lose, but it doesn’t faze them.

Some community members want to see these K-9 protectors with a little extra safety equipment. After a K-9 demonstration at the Fire Fest residents came to Tracker’s handler, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Fleck with the idea of raising money for bullet-proof vests for the hardworking pooches.

“It was not requested by us, but communities all over are jumping on this and raising funds,” Fleck said. “The technology changes so rapidly that these vests are lightweight enough, and maneuverable enough to really work.”

Marian Schultz, a self-professed animal lover, who is spearheading a fund-raising effort in South Lake Tahoe, said the dogs deserve the best.

“Those dogs aren’t just pets, they are officers. They’re doing a job. The dogs do more than I’d ever want to in a day,” Schultz added.

Vests cost around $1,000 apiece and Schultz is hoping to raise $3,000 to pay for vests for the South Lake Tahoe Police’s two service dogs, and Tracker. Fleck said the vests would be welcomed.

“Vests were not in the budget,” Fleck said. “They would be used on the dogs in high-risk situations, like when we know the suspect is armed. We’re extremely grateful for public support on this.”

Schultz said donation cans will be displayed at Alpine Animal Hospital, Alpine-Roundhill Animal Clinic and Kingsbury Veterinary Hospital. People can also send donations directly to the (nonprofit group) El Dorado County K9 Association, P.O. Box 11997, Tahoe Paradise, Calif., 96155.

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