Eight police dogs of the Maine State Police Canine Unit are now outfitted with protective vests just like their human counterparts.

At a cost of about $950 each, the vests are designed to be bullet-proof and stab-proof. The vests were purchased with donations from Vested Interest in K9, a Massachusetts-based organization, by the Petco Foundation and through a former New York City police officer, Madeleine Hamersley, who now lives in Maine.

State Police Sgt. Blaine Bronson, who runs the department’s canine program, said all of the state’s 18 police dogs are now outfitted with the protective vests. State canine units respond to about 1,200 calls a year across Maine, he said.

Earlier this month, the city of South Portland’s police dog, Trigger, received a vest as part of the $15,000 donation from the contributors to help law enforcements agencies across Maine purchase the protective dog vests.

Since it was founded in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 443 protective vests to police dogs in 37 states.

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