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January 31, 2005
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Aussie K-9s to get bulletproof vests

POLICE dogs could soon be wearing body armour following the death of hero canine Titan, who died in the line of duty in Sydney last month.

It follows the success of protective "booties" worn by the State''s police dogs, which are being considered by UK police dog squads. Made of leather and nylon, they protect the animals'' paws against broken glass and cigarettes, and bindis in forested areas.

NSW Police dog squad acting operations manager Inspector Mark Gledson said a ballistics and knife-proof prototype was being discussed with manufacturers. A progress report on cost and design would be delivered to NSW Police Minister Carl Scully next week, he said.

"After the Titan incident, we had many calls from people wanting to donate money to buy vests," Insp Gledson said.

Titan was stabbed three times while pursuing a man after a seven-hour stand-off at a Lalor Park house in December last year.

The three-year-old had worked as a police dog for 18 months and was the first canine to be killed in the line of duty.

Dog squad Sen-Constable Linda Turpin, handler of Skip for two years, welcomed the news.

"When we search pubs and clubs for drugs, people often kick the dogs or punch them in the head," Sen-Constable Turpin said.

"It''s terrible because they are like your babies."

Insp Gledson said 60 general-purpose dogs in the 110-strong unit would be fitted with vests.

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