Should police protect dogs with armor?

by Sebastian Quezada (Staff Writer) – 3/17/16

Police dog displays how the vest would be
Police dog displays how the vest would be

Police dogs this year have been dying at a greater rate than in previous years due to heat exhaustion and a lack of body protection. Approximately five police dogs have died in the line of duty by either being stabbed or shot.

The armor that is usually put on a police dog costs around one thousand to two thousand dollars, and police don’t usually have that much money in their budget. According to Police Captain Brian Fleig, “Our budget gets tight sometimes, and we can not really afford vests for police dogs.” What should be reasonable is that no police dog should be sent into the line of duty without armor.

With the fatalities rising, police should only send dogs that are protected or a have a different approach. One of the most recent deaths has occurred in Pennsylvania where a man stabbed a police dog when he was sent out with no body armor to bring down the suspect.

As of now, police units have been relying on donations from nonprofit organizations and their community to help them acquire dog vests. The issue with the donations is that it takes “months to arrive to the police unit,” states news  reporter Kim Dacey. By the time the police dogs receive their vests, they will already be on two or more duties.

But it hasn’t just been gun shots and stabs that have been killing police dogs, it has also been heat exhaustion. About “eleven police dogs have recently died of heat exhaustion due to police officers forgetting to let them out of their vehicles or because a lack of air ventilation,” reports The Washington Post. Since these deaths due to heat exhaustion are “surprisingly increasing by the numbers,” states police officer Steve Weiss, police cars should be properly checked for functioning air conditioning before allowing the dogs in the car. Not only that, but they should have alarms set up in their cars notifying them of the car temperature.

The laws in each state also do very little to protect these police animals. Weiss states that, “the laws in many states involving the deaths of police animals are not very strict.” With the number of deaths rising each state should acknowledge the issue at hand and should create and enforce their laws. Senior Jason San Jose believes that “these dogs don’t deserve to die like this, and the officers should be more aware.”

It is common sense to not send a police dog into a death zone without any protection. We provide our military men with the most up to date equipment in order for them to save our lives but not to our police dogs who go out there and are put in the same danger just to protect us. We seem to forget that these dogs are not just any animal but also man’s best friend and a possible  hero to a whole community.