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Vested Interest Program Protects K-9 Officers



CONTACT: Debbie Beyfuss, Program Coordinator
May 14, 2011

K--9 Officers to Be Protected through AHS Vested Interest Program

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – Three local K-9 police officers will have the same type of bodily protection as their human counterparts, thanks to Associated Humane Societies’ Vested Interest Program.

For Max, an 18-month-old German shepherd and partner Col. Mark Pickard; Arrow, a two-year old Belgian Malinois and partner Patrolman Christopher Gerace; and Nero, a four-year-old German shepherd and partner Patrolman Jim Clark these bullet- and knife-proof vests can mean the difference between life and death. They will protect them as they patrol this South Jersey Town.

Col. Mark Pickard and K-9 partner, Max who has received a protective vest through AHS Vested Interest program.

“These dogs courageously and selflessly work on command to protect and serve. It seems only right that they should have every protection afforded their human partners,” said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director, Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park. “We are extremely grateful to those who appreciate the service provided by these dogs and kindly donate to Vested Interest.”

Also receiving vests are Nero, with partner Patrolman Jim Clark, (right), and Arrow with partner Patrolman Christopher Gerace (below left)

Funded entirely through donations, Vested Interest has supplied protective gear to more than 1,000 police dogs in New Jersey and another 150 or so throughout the nation. The program began in 1998, after the fatal shooting of a Monmouth County Sheriff Department’s K-9, named Solo. The ultimate goal of Vested Interest is to provide a vest for every police dog that graduates the academy. Unfortunately, the dramatic cost increase for the vests, coupled with a decline in donations to the program is making this goal much more challenging. Each vest costs approximately $825.

A majority of the support for the program comes from school groups, civic groups and private citizens. Oftentimes, local K-9 Unit handlers will give demonstrations at meetings or school assemblies in partnership with Vested Interest fundraising activities. Organizations are encouraged to learn more about Vested Interest by contacting program coordinator Debbie Beyfuss or call at 973-824-7080. The Society welcomes tax deductible donations  - Donate to the Vested Interest Fund online or send to Vested Interest, c/o Society, P O Box 43, Forked River, NJ 08731.



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