LUMBERTON — Thanks to a nationwide fundraising event, the Lumberton Police Department’s K9 officer will be just as protected on the job as his two-legged counterparts.
According to a statement from the Police Department, Spike will receive a ballistic vest purchased with money raised during a Groupon “Occasions” campaign that ran from Feb. 15 through March 5.
Groupon Grassroots selected nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s Inc. as the fundraiser’s beneficiary. Online donations of $10 added up to $335,000 to purchase vests for more than 350 canine crime-fighters nationwide. Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.
Spike was the final Lumberton police dog in need of a vest. Officer Nero received one from Vested Interest in K9s in 2014.
Vests are being gifted in memory of Rocco, a Pittsburgh Police Department K9 officer killed in the line of duty in 2014. All vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, “In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.”
Established in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s is a Massachusetts charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Vested Interest in K9s partnered with Groupon in 2013.
Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 1,300 law enforcement dogs in 49 states with protective vests.
New K9 graduates as well as K9’s with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are U.S. employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.
For information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 508-824-6978. Donations can be made online at www.vik9s.org.