State agrees to protect police dogs with vests

Posted at: 02/19/2013 8:39 PM
Updated at: 02/19/2013 8:58 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The state Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would go a long way toward protecting police dogs that spend their lives protecting us.

The legislation would release $350,000 from the state Law Enforcement Protection Fund to purchase bulletproof vests for dogs in local police departments.

We caught up with Sgt. Larry Harlan of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's K9 unit, having an afternoon workout with his dog Gremlin. Gremlin is one of eight dogs in the department. Four of them have vests, thanks to donations. Half of them make do without. More vests? Bring 'em on.

"The vests come in handy when we have somebody confined in a house," Harlan said. "We know he's armed and we know that this dog has a likely chance of getting hurt."

"I'm just very appreciative of the danger that our police officers put themselves in," said Sen. Howie Morales, a Silver City Democrat who sponsored the bill. "That extends to the dogs who are out there protecting us in harmful situations and dangerous situations."

"If the bulletproof vests were even able to save one dog in our community or our state, I think it would be worth it," Harlan said.

We're pretty sure Gremlin agrees with his partner.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives.