Ohio Boy's Nonprofit Outfits Calif. PD's K-9s with Protective Vests

March 3, 2022
After Sacramento police K-9 Ranger was stabbed trying to apprehend a suspect, the Ohio-based Brady's K9 Fund sent seven bulletproof and stab-proof vests to the department.

By Rosalio Ahumada

Source The Sacramento Bee

One night in November, Sacramento Police Officer Arian Terman and his K-9 partner Ranger were trying to apprehend a suspect who had a felony arrest warrant for suspicion of stalking and making threats in West Tahoe Park.

After hours of negotiations with police, the suspect tried to evade capture and went out a back door of the home. Terman deployed Ranger, sending him over a fence. During the struggle, the suspect stabbed Ranger in the abdomen.

Officers took the suspect into custody, but Ranger was seriously injured. Terman said it was one of the toughest times he's experienced after realizing Ranger's stab wound was critical and the dog would need emergency surgery.

"These dogs, the bond that we develop with them, it's a rapidly-developed bond and it's an incredibly strong bond through the training process and just the experiences of being out in the street together," Terman said. "He has my back; I have his. I'd do anything for him, and he would do anything for me as he did that night."

Four months later, Ranger has fully recovered and is back on duty wearing new gear designed to protect him in a stabbing, or even a shooting. Ranger and the other dogs in the Sacramento police K-9 Unit are now wearing ballistic vests donated by an Ohio-based nonprofit group, Brady's K9 Fund, which heard about Ranger's injury and wanted to help.

"We're super excited to have these vests for high-risk situations with armed individuals," Terman said during a recent demonstration of the dogs wearing their new vests. The vests are light and provide some comfort during hot days and are buoyant to help the dogs float in water.

How Brady's K9 Fund got started

Brady's K9 Fund was started in 2018 by Brady Snakovsky, who couldn't understand why all police K-9s didn't have a protective vest like their human partners. Brady is now a 12-year-old sixth grader, who with the help of his mom and the fundraising team at Brady's K9 Fund, have donated more than 540 protective vests for law enforcement K-9s in 36 states. That includes 65 police K-9s in California.

Brady came up with the idea of raising money to buy a vest for police K-9s after watching a television show in which the dog did not have a protective vest.

"Because the officer had one, and I thought the dog needed one, too," Brady told The Sacramento Bee during a recent phone interview.

The boy started his charitable effort by selling candy and creating a GoFundMe online fundraiser that grew exponentially through word-of-mouth, said his mother Leah Tornabene, who is the president of Brady's K9 Fund. The nonprofit now has a website and raises money to buy the vests.

Tornabene said they learned about Ranger's stabbing injury in Sacramento and called Terman to see if they could help.

"Ranger was just doing his job and protecting his human partners when he was stabbed," Terman said.

Brady's K9 Fund sent seven bulletproof and stab-proof vests to the Sacramento police K-9 unit, which already had two other protective vests for its nine police K-9s. The Police Department has two other K-9s tasked with explosives detection, and they don't chase after potentially armed suspects and don't require protective vests.

Terman said using police K-9s enhances the safety of the officers at the scene and others in the area.

"A lot of times, these dogs really prevent a violent encounter," Terman said. "Because when an individual is presented with a dog like this that appears ready to go, that's a deterrent in a lot of ways to fighting, fleeing or trying to hide. You couldn't imagine the number of times that people just give up, and we're able to resolve it peacefully because of the K-9."

The Kevlar material for the dogs vest is the same body armor officers wear to protect them from gunfire and sharp weapons. The nonprofit receives measurements for the police K-9s and sends them to a company that manufactures the vests, which cost $1,200 each, Tornabene said.

People can donate through the Brady's K9 Fund website, and those looking to sponsor a particular K-9 or law enforcement agency can get a chance to meet in person with the police K-9 and their handlers. But Tornabene said any donation amount is appreciated and helps their efforts; the full price of a vest isn't the only option for donors.

The Police Department relies on nonprofit groups like Brady's K9 Fund and other private donations to supply its K-9s with tactical gear like these vests. The Sacramento Police Canine Association focuses on helping officers with expenses for the dogs after they retire.

Most police K-9s retire between the ages of 9 to 10 years old, and the Police Department sells the dogs to their handlers for $1 as long as they have worked together for 5 years, according to the canine association. After retirement, police K-9s become full-time family pets with expenses, including veterinary care, food and eventually burial expenses.

Ranger is two years old, and Terman said his K-9 partner has several years ahead of him on the force.

"I'm just trying to keep him happy and healthy and working as long as I can," Terman said. "I love working with him. Just coming to work with him every day is the best thing in the world."


(c)2022 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

Visit The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.) at www.sacbee.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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