BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Sheriff’s Office accepted a donation of five canine protective ballistic vests from Spike’s K9 Fund for their law enforcement canines.

Each canine vest costs $5,000, and they’re customized for every dog. Helping to keep them safe while they serve our community, each vest protects against bullets and knives.

“The way that crime trends are going now all of our dogs need the same protection that we get,” Daniel Garcia, a canine handler with KCSO K-9 unit said.

The vests wrap around the dog’s torso protecting all of the vital organs.

“Similar to body armor that’s worn on humans and on deputies on patrol it’s going to protect the vital organ areas similar as it would on humans this is one of the vital areas are on the dog,” Robert Fisher a canine handler with KCSO K-9 unit said. “It has underneath protection. This whole thing right here is armor.”

But the vests have a shelf life of just five years, and must be replaced to keep the dogs safe.

“So it means after those five years they are not sure the vest will stand up against the ammunition it’s rated to stop,” Fisher said.

Thanks to a donation from Spike’s K9 fund, a national non-profit, these new vests which would cost the county $25,000, are free. They’re also lightweight, at two pounds it’s still easy for the dog to do its job.

“Now that we have an added layer of protection for them,” Garcia said. “It gives us a little more sense of comfort when we’re asking them to do these dangerous things when we’re asking them to protect the citizens of the county.”

Which is something you can’t put a price tag on.

These ballistic canine vests might be expensive but the costs saved from donations all go back to the dogs and community projects.