A K9 with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office will get a protective vest soon, thanks to the help of a local woman.
During Monday's county commission meeting, commissioners accepted the vest for the dog. The Sheriff’s Office submitted an application to Vested Interest in K9s Inc. in January, and Patti Hill held a fundraiser to get the dog, Bane, a $1,050 bullet and stab protective vest at no cost to the county.
Once Bane receives his vest, all eight dogs in the unit will have one.
"Just like we protect ourselves with ballistic vests, we want to be able to protect these guys who are our partners and our friends," Sergeant Justin Stegall said.
Bane received recognition last year after sniffing out a trail that led to a kidnapped girl chained to a tree in Wilmington.
His handler, Master Deputy Sean Dixon, said smelling is exactly what he's trained to do, not apprehend like other dogs in the unit. Due to that, and working on a 30-foot leash, not only would Bane be the first to come into contact with a dangerous suspect, he would also be most vulnerable.
"That is why having a vest for him is so paramount," Dixon explained. "We could track a little kid in the morning and in the evening we could be tracking a violent criminal, and he would be just like this. He wouldn't know the difference."
Stegall said entire K9 units equipped with vests is common, and the Sheriff's Office is happy to be one of them.
Bane is a 3-year-old Hanoverian Mountain Hound, a breed similar to a blood hound. He is trained and has been successful, in tracking lost and missing persons.
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