K9s United receives $400,000 in state funding to aid canine crime fighters

Posted 2/2/24

K9s United, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting and advocating for law enforcement K-9s...

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K9s United receives $400,000 in state funding to aid canine crime fighters


JACKSONVILLE — K9s United, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting and advocating for law enforcement K-9s, has received a $400,000 grant from the state of Florida to further its mission to support K-9 law enforcement officers.

The funding will allow the Jacksonville-based organization to provide equipment K-9s need most including bulletproof vests, medical kits and supplies, kennels, vehicle heat alarms and door poppers to help keep them safe and healthy as they serve and protect their communities. It will also provide free canine first aid seminars that focus on training and educating K-9 handlers and EMS professionals on the dog’s anatomy, combat and environmental injuries, treatment protocols and other life-saving techniques K-9s may require in a moment’s notice. These immersive seminars will be held in the coming months and throughout 2024 in St. Petersburg and Miami, in addition to Madison, Marion, Palm Beach and Polk counties.

Additionally, the grant will provide four-day, in-depth training sessions in Lee and Osceola counties. The free seminars integrate the first aid training into the traditional training topics that include human detection such as tracking, trailing, area and building searches; criminal apprehension techniques and scenario-based training; odor and narcotics/explosive detection, along with basic and advanced obedience training.

“We believe that dedicated K-9s play a pivotal role in enhancing the safety of our Florida communities, and it’s our mission to provide them and their law enforcement handlers with the tools and resources they need to improve their chances of a safe return after each call,” said Debbie Johnson, president and founder of K9s United. “We feel immeasurable gratitude to the state and Senator Wright for this grant, which will allow us to channel support back into our communities by offering vital equipment, essential first aid and advanced training to safeguard these courageous canines who serve and protect us all.”

Dog lovers and athletes throughout the state of Florida, and the nation, can also support four-legged crime fighters by registering for the fourth annual virtual Fallen K9 Memorial Run, held on National Police K-9 Day (Friday, Sept. 1) to honor and remember the 25 K-9s who lost their lives in the line of duty last year, while also celebrating the fearless dogs who continue to protect and serve their communities. Three of Florida’s fallen K-9s will be honored during the run, including K-9 Drago (Columbia County Sheriff’s Office), K-9 Blue (Niceville Police Department) and K-9 Max (Lake Wales Police Department). To virtually join the 9K, 5K or one-mile fun run, visit www.k9sunited.org/events. Florida drivers are also encouraged to pre-order the nonprofit’s specialty license plate to make a lasting impact for K-9s while on the road.

K9s, grant, law enforcement, officers