CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) – In combat, dogs save lives.
They charge toward gunfire and attack men with explosives rigged to their bodies. Dogs saved the life of veteran Navy Seal Jimmy Hatch. The Purple Heart recipient is bringing his mission to help dogs to Cincinnati.
Jones is one of 18 Cincinnati police canines, he’s a patrol and SWAT dog.
“We as police officers live by wearing our vests, sending these guys without any vest,” said Officer John Neal.
Officer Neal is excited about a ballistic vest that stops guns and knives. Retired Navy Seal Hatch found a company to create his design. It’s light; custom made for specific canines. It’s not bulky, doesn’t get caught up on things. It’s Spikes K9 version of the vest. Spike was one of the dogs that saved Hatch’s life in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spike was killed in what’s called a “shoot through.” Hatch shot a bad guy Spike was taking down. The bullet went through the guy and hit Spike.
Four years later Hatch said he and other members of the Naval Special Warfare Team would be dead if it weren’t for another dog who gave them time to kill the bad guys first. Hatch was wounded. Hatch would rather talk canine than war. He helped train Jones in dutch. Jones is a Belgian Mali like Spike was.
The vest cost $2,500 a piece. 48 dogs in five departments have them. Donations and fundraisers will raise money to get them for Cincinnati police canines. Hatch said he was motivated to pay Spike back.
Hatch, who has Bronze Stars for valor and a Purple Heart, will be honored during the Cyclones game Saturday night, March 12. A booth for Spike’s K9 Fund will be set up at Smale Park for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.