Jennifer Tabakin, Town Manager
334 Main St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Great Barrington K-9 Unit Receives Health Care Grant
GREAT BARRINGTON — Chief William Walsh is pleased to announce that the Great Barrington Police Department’s K-9 unit has been awarded the “Health Care for K-9 Heroes” grant from Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.
The grant is part of Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.’s health care reimbursement pilot program, where a total of $10,000 will be awarded to a number of self-funded K-9 units for medical reimbursements.
Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. is a nonprofit that works to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States.
Great Barrington’s K-9 unit, which includes Officer Tim Ullrich and his canine Jori, was established in 2011 with the help of donations. That same year, K-9 Jori received a protective vest from Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. Throughout their partnership, Officer Ullrich and Jori have assisted in conducting numerous missing persons’ cases, suspect apprehensions and narcotics investigations. They also provided aid to West Springfield following the 2011 tornado.
“Officer Ullrich and K-9 Jori tirelessly serve the town of Great Barrington and work hard to ensure the safety of our residents,” Chief Walsh said. “We are thankful for Vested Interest in K-9s for helping us protect Jori.”
The Health Care for K-9 Heroes grant is awarded to departments that entirely fund their K-9 units through donations, have no more than three K-9 units, and have previously been awarded a vest through Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. Law enforcement dogs ages 2 through 7 are eligible, and injuries sustained in the line of duty, illness, diagnostic testing and therapies are covered through the grant.
The Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. grant will allow for the provision of a veterinary pet insurance major medical plan for approximately $500 per policy, per year. The plan allows the freedom to use any licensed veterinarian in the world, including specialists and emergency care providers.
Great Barrington’s health care plan will be administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) — the first and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. VPI offers a discount on medical coverage for police, narcotic, explosives, and search and rescue dogs. It currently insures active police dogs across the nation.
Along with the Great Barrington Police Department, the following 13 police departments and sheriff’s offices are among the first recipients of the Health Care for K-9 Heroes: Montague, Monson, Groton, Greece, N.Y., Roachdale, Ind., East Kingston, N.H., Armada, Mich., Black Hawk County, Iowa, Chickasaw County, Iowa, Kiowa County, Kan., Canon City, Colo., South Williamsport, Pa. and Winona County, Minn.
In addition to the launch of the new healthcare reimbursement program, the Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. has provided over 1,750 law enforcement dogs with bullet and stab protective vests in 49 states, totaling $1.6 million dollars in grant funding. For more information, visit vik9s.org