West Bloomfield officer raising money for K9 bulletproof vests
(FOX 2) - They put their lives on the line for us now, one man has made it his mission to protect K9 heroes around the world.
The former K9 handler and Navy SEAL was here in metro Detroit Friday.
"You wouldn't send a human police officer to do the job and say, 'You don't need a vest, don't worry about it," said Miller, K9 officer West Bloomfield.
It's become a mission for Miller to get police dogs in Oakland County the gear they need to be safe.
"The dogs just add a whole new aspect not only to police work but as far as safety for the community," he said.
His bomb dog "Lonzo" is a 2-year-old Dutch shepherd who needed a bullet proof vest. Without the funding at his department, they turned to Spikes K9 fund.org created by former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch.
"We want to make sure if we are going to bring these dogs into our human issues that they have everything they need to be successful," said James Hatch.
Back in 2009, Hatch and his K9 were on the mission to retrieve the now infamous solider Bowe Bergdahl - who walked off his post in Afghanistan. That's when Hatch was shot.
"I was wounded and right before I got shot in the leg, dog got shot in the head right in front of me, saved our lives," he said.
The stars in his organization's logo represent each K9 he lost overseas. The motivation behind his non-profit to get custom bullet proof vests to K9s across the country - like Lonzo.
"When you have to rely on somebody for your life - in this case a dog - it creates a certain type of bond that I don't know that anyone who hasn't been overseas or in a gun fight in the streets could really understand," Hatch said.
Friday night - Officer Miller and his charity "The Cross Hairs Foundation" held a fundraiser in Pontiac to repay hatch and his team.
"I can't thank them enough as well as I can't do enough to give back to them," Miller said.
Hatch was there to share his incredible story and encourage support for the cause known as "Fur Courage" so they can continue their work.
"I lost dogs and I blamed myself for that," Hatch said. "So I want to do with what I have left, to try and make sure to take care of the ones that are helping us out as best I can."
Hatch says there are 70 K9s on a waiting list for that life-saving gear, donate to their cause
The website for Hatch's charity is https://www.spikesk9fund.org/