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ARMORED POOCHES ON IRAQ PATROL

dog_armor.JPGG.I.s in Iraq may not be able to get armor for their Humvees. Their dogs, on the other hand, are well protected.U.S. forces are using K-9s, like the one in this New York Times photo to the left, for crowd control and other duties. To keep Cujo and his furry friends safe from dog-hating insurgents, the pooches have been outfitted with new body armor -- kevlar vests that are "manufactured to the same standards" as the ones people wear, according to the Marines.The armor, weighing seven pounds, protects against small arms fire and stab wounds. And it costs about a thousand bucks a pop -- chump change, the Corps argues in one of their official "news" stories."We get attached to the dogs because they're our partners, and we don't want to lose them," Marine dog handler Cpl. Daniel Hillery said.dog_growl.JPG"If you estimate the cost of raising, feeding and training a dog, it adds up to somewhere around $60,000. Replacing a dog ends up being a lot more expensive and time consuming," Hillery went on to explain.Along with the financial benefits, the new K-9 body armor is giving the Marines behind the dogs more confidence to accomplish their missions no matter what task is assigned to the unit."I think that it makes us feel more confident with the dogs because we know that they're going to be protected, and we feel like we can do more with them," Hillery explained. THERE'S MORE: Iraqis will likely find the armored doggies "doubly insulting," Defense Tech pal KK believes. "The Koran says they are filthy animals. They are not kept as pets," he notes.

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