STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Just 8 years old, Brady Snakovsky was watching a police program on TV and wondered why the officer’s K-9 did not have the same kind of ballistic vest as its handler. The question turned into an effort to raise enough money to donate one vest to a local K-9.
After FOX 8 aired his story, the response was so remarkable Snakovsky was able to buy two vests and two more were donated by the company he bought them from. This started an effort called Brady’s K-9 Fund that three years later has reached around the world, saving the life of one law enforcement K-9, with a local police officer’s K-9 partner the newest recipient of a donated vest.
“I wanted to vest the K-9s because the K-9s protect us on the streets, so I wanted to provide them with vests to protect them,” said Snakovsky.
On Monday, Snakovsky was at the Akron Police Department to meet K-9 Bosh, one of the department’s newest police dogs, and his handler, Officer Mike Bruvarny.
“I wear a vest. We all who work the streets wear vests for our protection. He’s my partner and he’s became my best friend and I want to protect him as well,” said Bruvarny.
The officer says the vests cost about $1,200 each. Most departments do not issue them.
“I emailed Brady’s mother and within the next day I got a response. You know each dog goes on a waiting list until the money gets raised and the vest gets ordered and shipped to your department,” said Bruvarny.
“A lot of people don’t know that the K-9 units are mostly run through donation and not the city budget so those units need all the help they can get to keep them on the streets,” said Brady’s mother Leah Tornabene.
“It was cool to see Bosh because I could see the vest on him and how it helped him and the expression on the officer’s face how happy he was,” said Snakovsky.
Over the past three years, the effort has raised enough money to donate 369 K-9 ballistic vests to departments that include the U.S. Army and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. A donated vest is even credited with saving the life of K-9 Devil in Stockholm, Sweden, who was working along with his law enforcement partner when the dog was attacked by a knife-wielding suspect.
Devil lost a part of his tail, but the knife did not penetrate his donated ballistic vest. The K-9 was back in service with his law enforcement partner Mike Lelki four days ago.
“I’m proud of myself because we are saving lives and, yeah, I bet they are happy,” said Snakovsky.
The outreach additionally shows police around the globe that there are people willing to support them and their efforts to fight crime.
“They say they are man’s best friend and I’m sure that’s a well-deserved title,” said Akron Police Lieutenant Mike Miller. “In this case, officer Bravarney and his partner can rest a little easier knowing that they both are equally protected when they go out to try to serve and help keep the community safe.”