FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP— As his ninth birthday approached, Will Aninowsky's wish wasn't for the newest toy or video game. He wanted to use his birthday to help people who help others.

Aninkowsky, a Tinton Falls resident, said he wanted to raise enough money to get a bulletproof vest for Fuze, a K-9 with the Monmouth County Sheriff's Department. He first met Fuze when the K-9 unit did two demos for his Cub Scout pack and decided then that he wanted to do something to help the dog.

" It makes me happy to keep a dog safe," Aninkowsky said in a press release from the sheriff's office.

After meeting Fuze and the rest of the unit, Aninkowsky raised more than $1,000 through birthday money and a GoFundMe page he set up. Thanks to his efforts, Fuze, an explosive-detecting dog got a new vest, as did his partner, Sheriff's Officer Ralph Irizzary.

"I am turning 9 on Oct. 1 and decided that I have enough toys and it will make me happy to do something good for the town," he said on the GoFundMe page.

"Will's birthday wish will enhance the safety of our K9s, and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office is extremely grateful for his generosity and dedication," Sheriff Shaun Golden said. "Members of our K-9 Unit are called upon year-round to assist local police departments with narcotics detection, explosive detection and criminal or missing person searches and it's crucial they are protected while maintaining public safety."

Aninkowsky's parents were also proud that their son was looking beyond himself to celebrate his birthday.

"I'm proud of my son for taking on such a worthy cause," his dad Bill Aninkowsky said. "These K-9s are an incredible resource in maintaining safety throughout Monmouth County and it's also a great way to show our appreciation to law enforcement.

The K-9 unit for the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office currently includes seven handlers and eight dogs. With this group there are two explosive/patrol teams, three narcotics/patrol teams, one explosive team, one tracking team, and one narcotics team. Last year the unit was called out more than 800 times and conducted more than 150 demonstrations.

Sheriff Golden said in the press release that if anyone else would like to contribute to the unit, checks can be made payable to the Monmouth County Treasurer with a letter saying that the money is intended for the MCSO K-9 Donation Fund. Checks can be sent to 2500 Kozloski Road, Freehold Township, NJ, 07728.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or

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