BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — All of K-9’s with the Bedford County’s Sheriff’s Office are now trained and equipped with bulletproof vests.
The office has three K-9’s and counting. Their youngest one, Toto, just got his vest last week. He’s paired with Deputy Taylor Lawson, who always dreamed of working with dogs.
“I’ve always wanted to be in law enforcement but the fact that I get to work with dogs is the icing on the cake,” Lawson said.
Lawson has been with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office for two years and was assigned to Toto in September.
“Every day I’m out, he’s out and we’re getting drugs off the street and criminals off the street,” said Lawson.
The energetic German Shepherd is a friend, but also a tool that needs daily training and protection.
According to Lawson, “He detects narcotics as well as criminals so he’s a criminal apprehension dog.”
The $4,000 dollar bulletproof vest on Toto was donated from a nonprofit called Spikes, K-9 Fund.
“It is stab-proof and bulletproof. The armor rating is 2-A which will stop most pistol calibers,” explained Lawson. “He can be lifted up. I can hold all of his weight by this handle if it’s a building search to where I gotta lift him up through an open window.”
Two-year-old Toto was born in Hungary to a work dog breeder and sent to the Netherlands where he was sold to a training facility in Pennsylvania.
“Most police K-9’s you see in the United States are originally from Europe,” Lawson said. “They’re not from the United States.”
Working dogs like Toto retire after eight to nine years and live for about 10 years — a lot shorter than a normal pet. Lawson says being without Toto is something he isn’t ready to think about.
“I get to go to work with my best friend and play with him all day. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” said Lawson.
The sheriff’s office is planning on getting two more K-9’s in the coming months, a German Shepherd like Toto and a bloodhound.
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