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Kansas City Star (MO) (KRT)
via NewsEdge Corporation

Jul. 17--Leigh Keller with Protect our K9s Foundation said the reason her organization spends time raising money to buy protective vests for police dogs is simple.
"We love dogs. We love our police department," Keller said. "We want to give back to our police department and help keep our canines safe. They do good work for us."
The group this afternoon presented a vest to the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department for Max, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois that has been with the department for a year.
Max's handler, Officer Patrick Callahan, said the vest will be useful in situations like building searches where an assailant might be armed and try to fatally wound the dog.
"They are greatly appreciated," Callahan said. "She (Keller) has done a great service for the police departments in Johnson County and Wyandotte County. We appreciate everything that she has done."
Max will have to undergo some training sessions so that he gets used to the vest, Callahan said. The one-piece vest comes with heating and cooling packs to help keep the dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Keller said the nonprofit organization she founded with Kimberly Collins raises money through donations and by collecting old cell phones to purchase the vests, which cost about $700. The organization also sells merchandise at its online store at www.protectourk9s.org.
The organization has provided vests for four dogs, Keller said.
Besides Max, the Kansas City, Kan., department has two other dogs -- Duke, who has been on the force for about a month, and Rico, who has been with the department for about nine months, Callahan said. A vest is still needed for Duke.
Keller said the organization will continue to raise money to provide vests for other canine officers. She said they are close to being able to buy a vest for the Lenexa Police Department.
"If there is something we can do to help keep them (police dogs) safe, then that is what we are here for," Keller said.

Story From: Kansas City Star
 
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