K9s United receives $400K in state funding


K9s United, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting and advocating for law enforcement K9s, has received a $400,000 grant from the state of Florida to further its mission to support K9 law enforcement officers.

State Sen. Tom Wright presented the grant Aug. 28 at St. Johns County Sheriff's Office headquarters.

The funding will allow the Jacksonville-based organization to provide equipment K9s need most including bulletproof vests, medical kits and supplies, kennels, vehicle heat alarms and door poppers to help keep them safe and healthy as they serve and protect their communities.

It will also provide free canine first aid seminars that focus on training and educating K9 handlers and EMS professionals on the dog’s anatomy, combat and environmental injuries, treatment protocols and other life-saving techniques K9s may require in a moment’s notice.

These immersive seminars will be held in the coming months and throughout 2024 in St. Petersburg and Miami, in addition to Madison, Marion, Palm Beach and Polk counties.

Additionally, the grant will provide four-day, in-depth training sessions in Lee and Osceola counties. The free seminars integrate the first aid training into the traditional training topics that include human detection such as tracking, trailing, area and building searches; criminal apprehension techniques and scenario-based training; odor and narcotics/explosive detection, along with basic and advanced obedience training.

“We believe that dedicated K9s play a pivotal role in enhancing the safety of our Florida communities, and it’s our mission to provide them and their law enforcement handlers with the tools and resources they need to improve their chances of a safe return after each call,” said Debbie Johnson, president and founder of K9s United. “We feel immeasurable gratitude to the state and Sen. Wright for this grant, which will allow us to channel support back into our communities by offering vital equipment, essential first aid and advanced training to safeguard these courageous canines who serve and protect us all.”