Columbia County Sheriff's lone K9 will soon be sporting a new bullet proof vest while on duty.
A community fundraiser that began in Clatskanie has brought in enough cash to pay for the life safety vest for K9 Lars and more.
"Our original goal was $3,099 to pay for the vest, but we ended up receiving over $5,000," fundraising organizer Jean Hogan said. "The excess money will go into a K9 fund for Lars' medical expenses and when he retires the money can be used to purchase another K9."
The fundraiser began Feb.24, but slowed shortly after. According to Hogan, a front page article in The Chief highlighting the effort and generous community support pushed the fundraiser over its goal.
"I thought I would have to hold several bake sales to reach the goal but The Chief's article really blasted us over the goal," she said. "Everyone got onboard with donations from $5 to $1,000."
Hogan said state Senator Betsy Johnson and Georgia Pacific each donated $1,000 and a smaller fundraising effort was conducted by local business Flowers N Fluff.
"They held a fundraiser for two days and contributed one dollar from the sale of each cup of coffee," Hogan said. "They brought in $997. It was amazing."
The money collected during the Flowers N Fluff fundraiser will be used to purchase a K9 trauma kit, which includes first aid materials to be used if the dog is injured.
Hogan said a public demonstration showing K9 Lars in action is pending.
Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley said the outpouring of community support to help fund a vest for Lars is "truly humbling."
Seven-year-old K9 Lars came from Adlerhorst Kennels in Southern California. Lars is currently the only K-9 employed by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. The dog resides with his law enforcement partner Columbia County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Pesio.