UPDATE: Donations roll in for Cleveland PD K-9 officers protective vests
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Donations to purchase protective vests for the three canine officers of the Cleveland Police Department have totaled $4,480.
Mayor Tom Rowland said the final total may be a little higher if some donations come in today's mail.
The extra funds will be used to purchase canine first aid packs and equipment for the handlers.
Rowland thanked the community for its generosity and care.
PREVIOUS STORY: Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland says his city's three K-9 officers, the ones with four legs, need protective vests.
“These animals are not dumb animals. They’re trained so well. It’s just amazing when you watch them workout. If they do this for us, we ought to do a little for them,” said Rowland.
The mayor is behind the fund-raising effort, he says a new Tennessee law deems police dogs the same status and standing as human police officers. He says the city's new K-9's need protection just the same as the men and women in uniform.
“A police dog is considered a police officer. There are different penalties in harming a police dog. The thought I had is they need protective vest because there is a vest for a dog. Police chief said today: "They are usually stabbed before they are shot,” said Rowland.
There have been times people have become aggressive with K-9 that were just doing their jobs.
“I know one instance where a dog chased a burglar under a house, and the burglar started kicking the dog,” said Rowland.
He says a vest could protect them from harm.
“These dogs are valuable to the police officer. These dogs are loyal to their handlers and willing to risk their lives for the handler and general public as well,” said Rowland.
Each vest will cost $1,100 dollars.
Donations have begun coming in, but it's not enough.
Mayor Rowland says if they don't get $3,300 the money may have to come out of the general fund, a withdrawal he doesn't want to have to make.
“In this community we have so many animal lovers who would love to buy into an investment such as this. I guess I want to give them the opportunity to do that,” said Rowland.
If you want to donate, you can send a check to P.O. Box 1519, Cleveland, Tennessee, 37354-1519