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VIK9S: They have a ‘Vested Interest’ in your K-9

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“Protecting K-9s is Our Priority” is the motto of newly formed  Massachusetts organization Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Sandy Marcal has been available to help man’s best friend…K-9 friend. For the past eight years, she has volunteered organizing events and raised more than $50,000 to provide bullet protective vests for law enforcement K-9s in Massachusetts. In 2009, Marcal decided to pursue her dream and organized Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc., a non-profit whose mission it is to provide vests for police dogs in Massachusetts. New K-9s graduating from the Massachusetts Police Academy as well as K-9s with expired vests will have an opportunity to be placed on Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. wait list.

Marcal has had the opportunity to work with local police departments, Mass. State Police, Mass. Dept. of Corrections, MBTA (Mass. Bay Transportation Authority), Mass. Department of Mental Retardation and USAF-Hanscom Air Force Base to secure protective vests for the dogs. She often attends K-9 training sessions, meets with the handlers, and organizes meetings between potential vest sponsors and K-9 teams.

“I have had the honor to meet many police dogs and their dedicated handlers and seen many of these K-9 teams demonstrate their talents of apprehension, obedience, narcotics firearms and bomb detection,” Marcal commented.

“It is unfortunate that local and state budgets do not have funding for bullet/stab protective vests, and that’s where we step in to assist. Each vest presently costs $725 and the waiting list changes often,” Marcal said.

Marcal’s website displays pastel artwork of law enforcement K-9s that was donated by local artist Russ Wilkinson of Wilkinson portraits (www.wilkinsonportraits.com).  “His work is amazing and completely captures the personality of the dogs and the handlers,” Marcal said.

The artwork of retired K9 Cesar was donated to Vested Interest in K9s by artist Russ Wilkinson.

Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. is run by Marcal with the assistance of fellow animal lovers, Attorney Robert H. Fennessy Jr. and Sarah Glaser, both of whom are charter members of the Board of Directors.

Attorney Fennessy has a solo law practice in Walpole, MA that concentrates in Animal Law, Municipal Law, Employment Law and Family Law. He previously served as captain of the Law Enforcement Department of the MSPCA. Fennessy teaches an Animal Law and Rights course at Southern New England School of Law, where he’s an adjunct professor of law and he teaches a civil liability course for ACOAM (Animal Control Officers Association of Mass.). Having dedicated his career to animal welfare, Fennessy was invited to speak and present at the 2007 and 2008 National Animal Law Conference in Portland Oregon and the 2009 International Animal Law Conference.

Sarah Glaser has been an editor for GateHouse Media, Inc. for three years, following two years as copy chief for MPG Newspapers. Before working as an editor she attended college in North Carolina majoring in communications. As an editor, she oversaw reports about the K-9 program as it impacted the town of Kingston. Ms.Glaser has grown up around police dogs and always found their work interesting. Being

a life-long animal lover, she volunteers her time with various animal rescue organizations. Her household consists of four rescue cats.  She became acquainted with Marcal during a fundraiser where the Kingston Police Departments K-9, Olyver was featured.

Marcal has plans for a motorcycle ride and Helping Paws for the Holidays Pet Santa Photos in 2010 to benefit the cause. Anyone wishing to volunteer may reach Marcal at info@vik9s.org.

Donations may be sent directly to Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or online at www.vik9s.org. For more information, please call 508-824-6978.

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