Drug Task Force K9 to receive protective vest

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2021

K9 Pioron, who works with Chambers County Drug Task Force Agent Lawrence Howell, will soon receive a bullet and stab protective vest from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest will be embroidered with the words, “In memory of K9 Kye, Oklahoma City Police Department,” according to Vested Interest Founder Sandy Marcal. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.

According to Drug Task Force Commander Lt. Stacy Shirey, Pioron is trained to detect narcotics, track, and work as a patrol dog. Shirey estimated that Pioron has been working with Howell for a couple of months. Howell also works with another K9, Goose.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) 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.

This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified.  Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,415 vests to K9s in all 50 states, made possible by both private and corporate donations. 

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies.

K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4 to 5 pounds, and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call (508) 824-6978.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

K9 Kye of the Oklahoma City Police Department succumbed to stab wounds in 2014 the day after attempting to take down a subject, according to Officer Down Memorial Page.

Officers and troopers had pursued the subject for over 30 minutes before he crashed on I-35. K9 Kye was released as the subject fled on foot. As Kye bit the subject, the man stabbed him several times. Unable to separate them, Kye’s handler fatally shot the subject when he refused to drop the knife. Kye was taken to an animal hospital where he died the following day.