Zeke nominated for national dog hero award; Project Paws Alive donates vests for city police dogs

62773_595596827135783_771144014_nView original media story: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/05/zeke_nominated_for_national_do.html

Harrisburg police K-9 Zeke has been nominated for The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.

Zeke, a Harrisburg police dog, was shot by a fleeing crime suspect in Lower Paxton Twp. Following a chase, police shot and killed Skyler Stewart.

The annual national competition, according to the website, recognizes America’s hero dogs. Dogs can be nominated in one of eight categories – law enforcement and arson dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, hearing dogs and emerging hero dogs.

Zeke was nominated in the law enforcement category.

Finalists in each category will be selected by the public via online voting, and following the announcement of the eight finalists, the public and a special blue-ribbon celebrity judging panel will have the chance to name the top American Hero Dog of 2013.

Every finalist will be presented with an award ad $1,500 for a selected charity partner. In addition, one finalist will be named the winning American Hero Dog for 2013, securing an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.

Zeke’s charity partner is Project Paws Alive, a national nonprofit headquartered in Georgia, that has secured new, custom-made bullet and stab proof vets for Zeke and the three other Harrisburg police dogs as well as the Lower Allen Township dog, Rocco.

Karen Caprio of Project Paws Alive said her organization was alerted to Zeke’s situation the day it happened.

Project Paws Alive’s purpose, she said, is to provide law enforcement and military K-9s with K-9 ballistic vests, K-9 cooling vests, K-9 trauma kits, and K-9 vehicle heat alarms and to also provide Fire/EMS first responders with pet oxygen mask kits.

The K-9 protective vests are bullet and stab proof.Provided photo

Caprio said Project Paws Alive is donating K-9 ballistic vests (bullet and stab proof) and trauma kits to Harrisburg’s four dogs and one to Lower Allen Township’s K-9, Rocco.

Caprio said the vests are custom-made to fit each dog.

“We believe law enforcement K-9s deserve the same protection as their human partners so we’ve elected to go with the best vests as chosen by our law enforcement board of directors. As such the custom vests are $1,400 each,” Caprio said.

The K-9 Tactical First Aid Field Trauma Kit, Caprio said, can handle everything in the field from a snake bite to a gunshot wound. Each kit is $350 and each K-9 will get their own kit.

Caprio said she contacted Zeke’s handler, Cpl. Ty Meik, and learned that vests used in Harrisburg were “ill-fitting hand-me-downs.”

Project Paws decided to get the new equipment and began selling K-9 Zeke Hero plush dogs to help raise money for the K-9 team.

Caprio said Nye’s Landscape & Mulch Sales of Harrisburg volunteered to pay for two of the vests while Nestle Purina of Harrisburg helped to pay for the other two.

“People from all over the country donated to fund the remaining vest and trauma kits and by the end of the week $9,000 worth of K-9 equipment had been paid for,” Caprio said. And, sales of the  Zeke Hero dogs have raised a little more than $1,000 in cash that will go to the Harrisburg K-9 unit.

PPA_Logo_rgb_72dpiVoting for the Hero Dog Award ends July 30. Vote for Zeke online.