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Advocates upset with St. Paul police over use of K-9 vests

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Animal protection advocates say they are feeling slighted by the St. Paul Police Department despite their efforts to raise money for bullet-proof vests for the department's K-9s, Fox 9 reports.

Vested Interest in K-9s recently raised $9,000 to help several departments purchase the protective vests. Still, the group claims, the St. Paul PD is "not interested in working with outside sources."

Currently, the department has three of the vests -- which can cost about $3,000 each -- and 19 K-9s.

Advocates have expressed concerns over the use of vests after a Kody, a St. Paul police K-9, was stabbed and killed in the line of duty in February.

The department's K-9 supervisor, Sgt. John Linssen, tells Fox 9 that a dog isn't always safe because it is wearing a protective vest.

Linssen says the dog is "safer from getting shot or stabbed where that vest covers, but it also causes a lot of negatives with heat retention and the dog's ability to do what it needs to do."

The St. Paul PD says it is examining the idea of getting more vests for its K-9s, but would rather make the purchases on its own timetable.

In comparison to the St. Paul PD, Fox 9 says the Minneapolis Police Department has 13 K-9s and three vests, and Hennepin County has 11 K-9s and no vests.

Last week, Vested Interest in K-9s purchased a $950 vest for Cado, a K-9 with the Dakota County Sheriff's Department, KSTP-TV reports.

To date, the group has raised enough money to outfit 24 K-9s with vests throughout the state.


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