Posted: Aug. 21, 2017 8:15 am
CAMP POINT, Ill. — The Camp Point Police Department no longer needs to worry about funding veterinarian visits for its K9 unit, Poseidon.
The Police Department was among 10 departments across the country selected as 2017 recipients of Vested Interest in K9s’ Healthcare for K9 Heroes grants. A nationwide charity based in East Taunton, Mass., Vested Interest in K9s’ mission is to provide bullet- and stab-protective vests and other assistance to police dogs. The organization has provided 2,600 vests nationwide and granted Poseidon a vest earlier in the year.
“The village won’t have to pay anything, which is huge for us,” said Camp Point Police Chief Steve Patterson. “We’re pretty tight budgetwise.”
Vested Interest in K9s launched the Healthcare for K9 Heroes program in 2016 as a medical reimbursement program for self-funded K9 units. Last year, the program awarded 24 K9 units an annual policy of just over $10,000.
Under the grant, the Police Department pays only a $100 deductible for Poseidon’s veterinary visits and any other tests or therapies required for illnesses or injuries suffered in the line of duty, and Healthcare for K9 Heroes covers the rest.
Poseidon has been with the department since last year and hasn’t suffered any injuries. Patterson said a single vet visit by the last K9 unit cost the department $1,100.
“Our K9 unit is huge for the department. We utilize him a lot,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of money we can throw out to a dog, but it’s a much-needed asset.”
Patterson said the K9 unit has been instrumental in cracking down on drugs traveling through the village along U.S. 24 and has also proved beneficial when nearby departments are in need.
“It helps address the drug issue in the county on this end,” he said. “We work at the prison in Mount Sterling, We’ve assisted Adams County and Brown County, and helped out other departments that don’t have K9 units.”
To be considered, a department must have the financial burden of raising money to support a K9, have no more than three K9s, and have been awarded a vest by the organization. K9s ages 2 through 7 are eligible. The program is administered by Trupanion, a pet insurance company based in Seattle.