Couple’s bid to offer stab-proof K9 vests

2016-01-12 09:57
Charli Jamieson (left) and Lee Geldenhuys with their daughter Jessica-Rose.

Charli Jamieson (left) and Lee Geldenhuys with their daughter Jessica-Rose. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - A Howick couple are behind a Facebook page raising money for stab-proof vests for the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit.

Charli Jamieson and Lee Geldenhuys started the page after two police dogs were stabbed after a house robbery in November last year.

Jamieson said when she heard about the stabbings she wondered why the dogs did not have protective vests and what could be done to ensure the safety of the animals when they were out hunting criminals. “It is so dangerous for the dogs. Sometimes they are the first to go into a house where there has been a robbery, and they do not have any protective vests to shield them from being stabbed,” she said.

Jamieson said she and her fiancé had spoken to police officers in the unit, who had told them that although the dogs had bulletproof vests, these did not protect them from criminals wielding knives. The vests were also very heavy, making it difficult for the dogs to operate to their full potential.

“We then started doing some research. There are a few South African companies that manufacture something similar to a stab-proof vest, but they cost between R5 000 and R6 000,” she said.

“We also looked at Belgium and what they had to offer, as we knew the Belgian police force had stab-proof vests for their K9 Unit dogs. We found a company there that sells the vests for R2 400 each, which is cheaper than in South Africa, and we have started negotiating lower prices if we buy in bulk.”

Jamieson said, as a passionate animal lover it was a cause close to her and her fiance’s hearts. “We have two dogs, a Rottweiler and a Jack Russell,” she said.

“We have friends in the [K9] unit that helped us to train our Rottweiler to respond to intruders, and we are extremely thankful for that.”

She said the page was aimed at raising funds for the stab-proof vests and was called “Help Support Our K9 Unit”.

“People have been very positive towards the page and the campaign, but we haven’t had many South African donors; most of the donors are from oversees. So far we have raised R4 128, but we are looking at chatting with local businesses and putting together a fundraiser to raise more money.”

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane welcomed the initiative.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  animals  |  saps

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