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SAN DIEGO – A local Girl Scout troop is helping keep the San Diego County Sheriff’s K-9 unit safe from rattlesnake bites.

Brownie Troop 3434 from Mira Mesa donated part of their cookie sale money to fund hundreds of dollars’ worth of rattlesnake vaccines for the dogs.

The K-9 unit is considered an extra set of eyes, ears and noses for the Sheriff’s department, which relies on the K-9 deputies to venture into places that two-legged deputies often can’t.

“We send them into attics alone, crawl spaces we operate in very urban or rural areas throughout the county,” said Sergeant Jacob Pavlenko.

But these dogs can run into trouble and come face-to-face with danger, including rattlesnakes.

“We actually had one of our dogs here at the kennel who was bit last summer,” Pavlenko said.

That’s why the troop chose to donate part of their hard-earned cookie sales to the dogs who keep everyone safe.

“Nobody likes snakes, nobody wants to be bitten by a snake so they thought the animals probably wouldn’t like that either and so they decided that was a good opportunity for them,” said Shannon Weaver, troop leader.

When the troop approached the Judy Vet Clinic in charge of the Sheriff’s K-9s’ veterinary care asking what they could do to help, the clinic said the 31 dogs needed rattlesnake vaccines. After hearing the Girl Scounts’ story, the vaccine company donated 25 doses on the girls’ behalf. The Judy Clinic then donated the remaining six doses needed.

“I feel good about helping,” said troop member Kaeden.

“It’ll keep everybody safe by keeping the dogs out in the field. We don’t want them going down for a rattlesnake bite or anything like that so the more they’re out there, the safer everybody in this community is,” Pavlenko said.

In total, the girls helped to donate $900 worth of anti-venom and decided to spend $350 on training tools for the K-9s.

The Sheriff’s department is grateful and says the vaccines will not only help keep the K-9s safe but everyone safe.