Richmond police dog Rasp, now bullet-proof.
At home, they probably wear cute little doggie sweaters. But on the job, Bosco, Ivan and Rasp prefer to slip into something a little less comfortable.
Well, OK. Really they don’t.
“It is extra weight,” said Richmond Police Officer Aaron Mandell, who handles police dog Rasp on the job. “You can tell that it affects his balance a little bit. It’s going to take some getting used to.”
But, thanks to local donations and the work of K-9 Armor, a Novato-based state charity, more Richmond police dogs will feel bullet-proof when charging into scary situations.
The group, which provides Kevlar armor to police dogs around the state, provided vests to two Richmond police dogs and one from San Pablo on Thursday.
“They can stop a .44 Magnum,” K-9 armor co-founder Suzanne Saunders said. “It’s the same material they use for (human) officers.”
Officer Joe Avila’s dog, Bosco, also suited up, as did Ivan, a police dog from San Pablo handled by Officer Danielle Bowler. Former City Council candidate Chris Tallerico ponied up for Bosco’s vest, a donation made in memory of Officer Bradley Moody, a dog handler who died in a car crash in 2008.
Four of Richmond’s six dogs now have armor, said Sgt. Mitch Peixoto, who manages the departments’ K-9 program. The dogs don’t wear the vests every day, suiting up only when there’s a need.