06 December 2005

Taking body armour to the next level

Hot on the, ahem, paws of my recent post about the police dog that wasn't, comes this gem from Fulda in Eastern Germany. It would appear that a German security firm has had the birght idea of manufacturing bulletproof vests (insofar as you can call it a vest) for dogs that are in the firing line. Strikes me as an excellent idea. Deutsche Welle reports:
A German security firm is helping to ensure that our four-legged friends in dangerous situations are protected. It's unveiled a bulletproof vest that will let Fido take a round in the flank and live to bark about it.

Not all dogs are of the lap variety, leading lives of lazy luxury. Some are out there on the front lines, dealing with gun-toting criminals, stone-throwing rioters and other projectile-wielding characters.

For dogs whose lives are on the line, a German firm is manufacturing bulletproof protective gear that can mean the difference between life and doggie heaven. The vest, by the Fulda-based firm Mehler, is on display at the MILIPOL security trade show outside of Paris. It weighs around three kilos (6.6 pounds) and comes in six sizes. It's already being used by furry conscripts to the Swiss army, according to company spokesman Thomas Kuhnlein.

But protection doesn't come cheap. Wholesale prices range between 800 and 1,000 euros ($950 - $1,150). That's a lot of doggie treats.

Actually, when you think about it, eight or nine hundred Euros potentially to save the life of a working dog is probably not all that expensive. When you consider the many hours that have to go into training police or military dogs before they can even be put to work, and the work that they can do for their employers which it would be very difficult or impossible for humans to do, I suspect that the economic balance would come out very much in favour of the dogs. As I say, I reckon it's a great idea, provided the dogs can function just as efficiently with the vests on as they could without them, which I assume to be the case. If it's good enough for Police horses in the UK to be kitted out with riot protection gear, I don't see why the same care shouldn't be taken for dogs.

What I want to know is whether the offer of extra protection could have encouraged Buster to display a little more commitment to his job? Somehow, I doubt it.