Red-carpet treatment

Kota back in town after California trip

By Joe Beck

The red carpet in Beverly Hills has been rolled up and Kota, the police dog from Winchester, no longer has his name up in lights after the American Humane Association Hero Dog award ceremony Saturday night.

A pit bull mix breed from North Carolina was chosen 2014 American Hero Dog, but Lauren Cummings, a community relations specialist with the Winchester police, said Monday that Kota was taking his loss in stride.

Kota took a return flight Sunday from California to Winchester where he celebrated his 7th birthday. He has a couple days off as part of his normal schedule before returning to patrol duty on Wednesday with his trainer-partner Cpl. Brittney Kotynski-Neer.

“We’re really proud of him and all the awards he has received for his heroism,” Cummings said of Kota. “He’ll always be our local hero. We’re just glad to have him back on duty, mended and back from his injury.”

Kota has no reason to lick any wounds after riding a rocket ship to stardom since January. Word of his gallant exploits during the arrest of two burglary suspects hit the world of social media and transformed him overnight into a celebrity with millions of fans.

Kota broke his leg from a fall through the floor of an attic crawl space as he, Kotynski-Neer and other officers tried to arrest the two suspects. After falling onto the hardwood floor below, Kota managed to work his way back up the stairs where he stood by as others completed the arrests.

Kota’s injuries sidelined him until late August when his veterinarian cleared him for a return to duty. Cummings said Kota continues to undergo rehabilitation but has been doing “really well” since returning to duty.

Kota was one of eight finalists in the hero dog contest, and the winner of the law enforcement dog category. The contest included an opportunity for fans of each dog to cast their votes online.

The Hallmark cable channel is scheduled to broadcast a recording of the hero dog award ceremony at 8 p.m. Oct. 30.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com