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West Valley City police dogs are getting ballistic vests

First Published      Last Updated Jan 19 2015 09:00 pm

Six West Valley City police dogs are about to receive vests to protect them from guns, knives and tire irons, thanks to a Massachusetts non-profit.

The six canines — Copper, Taz, Lobo, Halo, Sam and Chief — will receive the ballastic vests on Tuesday. The vests help protect them from "shots, stabbings, explosives, and blunt force trauma such as being kicked, punched, or beaten with a weapon or other dangerous object such as a bat or tire iron," according to a West Valley City police news release.

In December 2013, a naked man allegedly bit Lobo's neck and clawed at his face while police were trying to take the man into custody in a Costco parking lot. Lobo was not badly hurt and returned to work the next day, Deputy Police Chief Mike Powell said at the time.

Copper, a bloodhound, also made local headlines last month after finding a missing Herriman boy who had fallen down an open manhole.

The vests came from Vested Interest in K9s, a charity in East Taunton, Mass., which outfits police dogs around the country. The charity had partnered with Groupon for a fundraiser, which collected more than $335,000 last year to buy the vests and distribute them nationwide, according to the release.

All of the vests, which cost $950 and have a 5-year warranty, are embroidered with "In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police." Rocco died in January 2014 after a man allegedly stabbed him during an arrest, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In all, 350 police dogs across the country will receive the vests.

- Michael McFall

Twitter: @mikeypanda