Protective vests donated to Hennepin County K-9s

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Here's good news for Hennepin County's four-legged officers Murphy, Eddie, Jake, Smokey, Azor, Dugan, Brody and Rosko.

A Massachusetts group is donating eight ballistic vests to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit that are designed to protect the dogs from being shot or stabbed.

The sheriff's office says Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. raised the money for the vests, about $7,600.

Minnesota K-9s routinely face dangerous situations in their duties, which include narcotics and explosives detecting, tracking and apprehending fleeing suspects, and locating missing persons.

The animals "put their lives on the line in the name of public safety,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says in a press release.

Last year, a 9-year-old German shepherd with the St. Paul Police was stabbed in the line of duty and died on the way to an animal hospital.

A Roseville police dog was partially paralyzed in 2010 after being stabbed by a burglary suspect in line of duty.

Vested Interest, a 5-year-old nonprofit, was launched with goal of outfitting more of the nation's police dogs with the potentially life-saving armor. The group raises money through private and corporate sponsorships and has provided more than 930 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with vests.

Earlier this year, the group was part of a GroupOn fundraising effort that raised $335,000 for K-9s in Maryland, in honor of K-9 Officer Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department, fatally stabbed in the line of duty in January.

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