The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office has received a boost to its K-9 units, as two new protective vests, designed to safeguard the dogs during high-risk suspect apprehension and drug interdiction investigations, were generously donated to support law enforcement efforts.
The donation came from local resident Ann Rogers, who said she felt compelled to make the donation after learning about the important work the K-9 units do for Liberty County.
Each vest comes at a cost of $1,700, which Rogers believes is a small price to pay to protect the K-9 deputies.
“We’ve got to take care of our dogs. People think about crime as just numbers and not how it happens to real people. But it could be something in your own backyard next time. Bad things can happen anywhere,” Rogers said.
Initially Rogers donated just one vest to the sheriff’s office, believing the need was fully met; however, upon learning that another dog also lacked a protective vest, Rogers agreed to purchase a second one on the spot.
The tactical vests protect the dog’s vital organs much like a bulletproof jacket protects an officer’s chest and abdomen. The K-9 vest also has a built-in grip so the K-9 handler can control the dog in tense situations where restraint is needed.
The vest donated on Friday, Nov. 17, went to Wolf, the specially-trained Dutch Shepherd that is under the command of Deputy Bryant Kutra, assigned to the LCSO Drug Interdiction Unit. Wolf and Kutra have been partners since May 2022 after he was trained by the Integrity Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
Kutra underwent 360 hours of dog-handling courses, which at one time had him working as a decoy and wearing protective gear to play the role of a suspect. During one particular training session, Kutra’s nose was bit off by one of the dogs being trained. Fully recovered from his injuries today, that one incident did not deter him from being a K-9 handler.
“Everywhere I go, he goes,” said Kutra.
Wolf is considered a dual purpose K-9 as he can sniff out drugs in roadside drug interdictions and in buildings, and assists in apprehending subjects during an arrest. Most of the time, Wolf’s presence and intense demeanor are enough to make suspects surrender to law enforcement.
Wolf is one of four K-9 units at LCSO. The other teams are Paul Young with Rita, Michelle Deshotel with Jack, and Mike Gangloff with Rico.