Nero, a member of the City of Marquette’s K-9 Unit, was recognized this past weekend by the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS). Nero, a ten-year-old specially trained Belgian Shepherd, has been instrumental in fighting crimes and the illegal drug trade in and around Marquette.
UPAWS presented Nero with their Silver Tag Award, given to an animal that “over a significant period of time, has performed a service for a person or persons,” according to Reva Laituri, chairperson of UPAWS’ awards committee. “Nero was nominated because of his service to the citizens of the City of Marquette and other communities in the Upper Peninsula,” Laituri said.
“Over the years, Nero and Sgt. Munger have achieved many successes in drug detection and searches,” said Chief of Police Mike Angeli. “They’ve also provided periodic drug checks at area schools, and their services have often been extended to other communities and law enforcement agencies as needs have arisen,” Angeli said. He added that many crimes have increased as a direct result of illegal drug activity, including thefts, assaults, and a recent homicide. “I’m happy to say that Nero has been a significant asset in helping us fight this growing problem.”
Nero’s strenuous work and age have made him ready for retirement, Angeli said, and it will take two young dogs to replace him. “Last week Sgt. Munger returned from Holland with our newest recruits,” Angeli said. “We’re grateful for the public support that has made it possible to ‘hire’ Nero’s replacements, but we now need to focus on obtaining the training and equipment we’ll need to create a fully-functional unit,” said Angeli.
Donations may be made directly to the Marquette City Police Department K9 Fund, 300 W. Baraga Ave., Marquette, MI 49855.