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South Carolina Department
of Natural Resources

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SCDNR's K9 Rio receives donation of body armor

April 20,2022

dog wearing K-9 vest

SCDNR's K9 Rio sports a new bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) K9 Rio has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc. K9 Rio’s vest was embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Gabo, Jonesboro, AR - EOW 1/16/20.”

SCDNR's K-9 team is used in the investigation of hunting and fishing violations statewide, as well as frequently being called upon to assist other law enforcement agencies with a wide range of calls including missing persons or evidence searches.

“We are so appreciative of this donation by Vested Interest in K9s,” said SCDNR’s Sgt. Freddie Earhart, Rio’s handler. “It will help keep Rio safe as she performs her daily law enforcement duties.” Earhart and Rio are based out of SCDNR’s Region Four and generally cover the coastal counties, although their assignments may range over the entire state.

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 more than 4,601 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, 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 4-5 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, or you may mail your contribution to PO Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.