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Photos: Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Compiled by Alison Shea

On Aug. 5, the Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort (CARE)—a nonprofit group based in San Juan Capistrano—presented Orange County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit deputies with a donation of 10 Kevlar tactical vests for their four-legged partners. The vests were provided through the Orange County Sheriff’s Advisory Council.

“The dogs are seen by their handlers as a partner, not just a tool,” Sgt. Dean Weckerle of the OCSD K-9 Services Unit said in a press release. “It’s important they have a level of safety and protection equal to the officers.”

K9Vests_3The vests will allow the dogs to be easily lifted, giving the handler more control and providing ballistic and stab protections. They will be used during high-risk SWAT operations and field operations where an armed and dangerous suspect is involved, the release stated.

The dogs are an integral part of OCSD and, according to the release, they have significantly reduced the number of man-hours searching for subjects, evidence and narcotics, as well as reducing property loss and injuries to deputies. Currently, eight deputies and their canine partners provide service to OCSD’s 13 contract cities.

CARE board members in attendance on Aug. 5 said the vests were donated in an effort to save the lives of people and animals countywide. CARE’s mission is to help promote the health of animals in surrounding communities.

To view OCSD footage from the ceremony and K-9 demonstrations, visit For more information about CARE, visit or call 949.240.1322.

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