Shelby County K9 Hektor gets body armor

Shelby County Sheriff's Office K9 Hektor has reveived a donation of a bullet and knife proof vest like the one pictured. Submitted photo.

Hektor, the K9 for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from a non-profit organization called Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest was embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of Dr. Dianne Jurbala-Strohman”.

Hektor will be retiring in January. On Wednesday, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office was receiving a check for the Shelbyville Lions' Club for $1000 towards the cost of a new K9 to take over when Hektor retires. Hektor was not available for the photo because he and his handler, Deputy Dave Myers, had been dispatched to rural Neoga for a search. Mark Colonius, the treasurer for the Lion's Club, donated the check to Sheriff Don Koonce.

According to Sheriff Koonce, the new K9 will probably arrive in September or October and begin training to take Hektor's place when he retires. When Hektor retires, he will be returned to his trainer.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity located in East Taunton, MA 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. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 3,300 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million dollars.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

"On behalf of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, we would like to extend our thanks to Vested Interest in K9s for their generous donation of this protective vest for Hektor," said Sheriff Koonce. "Hektor and his handler, Deputy Myers, are excited to continue to serve the Shelby County community with this protective vest being utilized as an added measure of safety for Hektor while he performs his duties.

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