Donation will fund purchase of bullet-proof vest for police dog

DOVER — The generosity of a nonprofit dog agility training club once again will pay off for important members of the Delaware State Police K9 Unit.

The Blue Heron Agility Association of Delaware presented troopers with a $1,000 check on Tuesday which will buy a new bullet and stab proof vest for one of its canines. The year before, $2,000 was donated for a couple vests.

At a check presentation on Tuesday are, from left, Delaware State Police K9 Unit members Cpl. Robert Kunicki with K9 Max, Cpl. Leonard Aguilar receiving the ceremonial $1,000 check from Denise Jester of the Blue Heron Agility Association of Delaware and Trooper First Class Robert Costlow with K9 Rony. (Submitted/Delaware State Police)

At a check presentation on Tuesday are, from left, Delaware State Police K9 Unit members Cpl. Robert Kunicki with K9 Max, Cpl. Leonard Aguilar receiving the ceremonial $1,000 check from Denise Jester of the Blue Heron Agility Association of Delaware and Trooper First Class Robert Costlow with K9 Rony. (Submitted/Delaware State Police)

The vests are crucial to the dog’s safety when responding to potentially lethal incidents, and much appreciated by state police.

“It’s a nice piece of equipment that the handler knows they can use when in a dangerous situation when a confrontation may occur,” Cpl. Leonard Aguilar said.

The vest will provide added safety, police said, since it is newer, with a lighter frame and the latest design technology.

All 21 state police patrol dogs have vests, but they are aging, Cpl. Aguilar said.

Six BHAAD members attended a late morning presentation ceremony at the State Police Training Academy on North DuPont Highway.

“We graciously thank them for their second donation,” Cpl. Aguilar said.

Denise Jester said the group decided at the end of the year to once again support the K9 Unit. In the past, she said, the state police handlers have performed demonstrations for the club.

“We all feel very strongly about our dogs and know that the state police do, as well,” Ms. Jester said. “We respect the job that the K9s do and want them to be safe.”

Since 2009, BHAAD has hosted agility competitions, including three at the Heartland Equestrian Center in Frederica last year, and another at Eden, Maryland.
Money left over from entry fees was used to make the state police donation.

“We feel part of our duty is to give back to the community,” Ms. Jester said.

Ms. Jester said that while many of the group’s 37 members are from Sussex County, they also hail from Dover to Rehoboth Beach and Fruitland, Maryland, along with two who travel from Virginia.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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