The Milford Police Department’s K9 Zar has been awarded a ballistic vest thanks to a nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

K9 Zar is a 4.5-year-old German Shepherd, certified in patrol work, and assigned to Officer Sean Owens of the Milford Police Department.

Zar became a member of the Milford Police Department in December 2014 upon completing his training.

“Zar is full of personality, enjoys playing with his Kong when he is home, going for walks, and patrolling the City of Milford on evening shift with his handler,” states a press release issued by the police department. “He especially enjoys challenging tracks leading to suspect apprehension and evidence recovery, both of which he has proven extremely successful at, to date”

Zar’s vest is sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Thin Blue Line USA and Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. and will be embroidered with the sentiment “Honoring those who served and sacrificed.”

Delivery is expected within 10 weeks.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Mass., whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States.

The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided more than 3,000 protective vests in 50 states through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million dollars.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950. Each vest has a value between $1,744 and $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of four to five pounds.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.