Festival announces Smokey Bear, K-9 officer Kota honorary marshals

Winchester K-9 German shepherd Kota has been named honorary grand marshal of the upcoming Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, according to a press release from the festival office.

The release also named Smokey Bear as the festival’s honorary firefighters’ marshal. Both will ride in festival parades next month.

Kota, who was injured in the line of duty in January, has become a worldwide sensation, garnering nearly 38,000 likes on his Facebook page, the release said. A fall through an attic floor while in pursuit of two breaking and entering suspects on Franklin Street in Winchester resulted in Kota breaking his leg. He underwent extensive surgery. The 6-year-old continues to undergo therapy, but veterinarians are optimistic of his return to duty in the future.

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