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Erie County Sheriff’s K9s to be fitted for protective vests

Three dogs that patrol the Erie County Holding Center and the Correctional Facility will be fitted for custom ballistic vests that will protect them from knife and shank attacks.

Vests for K-9s Bili, Lord and Cer will come from Vested Interest in K9s, a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts. A $950 donation to the organization from the Cannata Family Foundation of Foxboro, Mass., is paying for one vest, while Hot Yoga Spot of Latham, in upstate New York, donated $2,000 for two vests.

The three dogs and their handlers are assigned to the holding center and correctional facility, where they routinely search visitors, inmates and the facilities for contraband, according to a spokesman for Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.

In the past, the dogs have detected illegal drugs being smuggled into the jails by visitors.

Established in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 1,200 law enforcement dogs in 40 states with protective vests, at a cost of more than $1.1 million. The vests are manufactured in Michigan and distributed through a Massachusetts company that also does the custom embroidery on them.