Spencer, WI (OnFocus) K9 Ella of the Spencer Police Department will be better protected while on duty thanks to the donation of a ballistic vest and first aid kit from Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog.
The non-profit organization aims to provide bullet and stab-proof vests to all K9 units in the state to protect them from dangers they may face in the line of duty. While vests cost $1,000 or more, through Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog they are donated to police departments free of charge.
“The vest is a great addition to our K-9 program because it offers one more level of protection for Ella,” said Officer Mindy Stellmach, handler. “The vest will only be used in situations where it is believed that the suspect may be armed. There are far too many K9 partners getting stabbed or shot in the line of duty.”
Last April, Green Bay Police Department K9 Pyro was stabbed multiple times while responding to a call of a man with a gun, but survived the life-threatening injuries. Having the vest could prevent a similar incident from occurring in Spencer.
The accompanying first aid kit contains everything needed for K9 first aid, including splint, forceps, gauze, iodine swabs, staple gun, scissors, vet flex bandaging, antibiotic ointment, peroxide, and tourniquet, plus latex gloves, artificial tears, Benadryl, muzzle, water, and squirt bottles.
“Our EMS crew also brought in a veterinarian that went through my first-aid kit and explained to them and me how to use the items,” Stellmach said. “I like knowing that we can all be prepared to render basic K9 first aid if Ella were to get injured on a call or in an accident.”
Ella, a Belgian Malinois who responds to German commands, started shifts last June and is the department’s first-ever K9.
“Ella has proven to be very beneficial for our department in the 8 months she’s been on the road,” said Stellmach. “Ella has been deployed numerous times on traffic stops and has led to multiple drug seizures and arrests. We’ve assisted area agencies with K9 sniffs as well, and look forward to continuing to be a great resource!”
Stellmach attends training twice a month to build up her and Ella’s skills and meet the industry standard of 16 training hours a month.
“It’s so awesome to see how far she’s come in the last 8 months, and things will only go up from here!” Stellmach said.
The Spencer Police Department will host its 3rd annual Par 4 a Pup golf scramble to support its K9 Program. The event will take place July 25 at RiverEdge Golf Course in Marshfield, and teams of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Registration flyers will be distributed at a future date.
For more information on how to support Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog, visit wivestadog.org.