The community held a memorial service for the Kern County Sheriff Office’s longest-serving K-9 officer.
Last month, Neco the German Shepard was euthanized after a tumor was found in his stomach. He passed away on March 4th.
Neco worked with his handler, Deputy Joe Weiss, for seven years.
“All the K-9 handlers take their dogs home. It’s hard not to develop a bond,” explained Richard Anderson, who managed the pair for several years.
“Everybody who knows me, safety is the number one thing. That partner is there to help you and everybody else go home,” Weiss said.
Neco was cross-trained to help with both patrol and narcotics.
“Neco would’ve given his life for me and his partner, and anyone in the community,” Anderson said. “Neco was that type of dog.”
Blane Martinez, Deputy Weiss’ stepson, added, “to most, he was an intimidating dog with a scary bark and very large teeth, but to our family, he’s a big teddy bear.”
The department mourned Neco’s loss, but his memorial ceremony was of celebration for his life and service.
“They’re just not dogs. They’re a part of our family, they’re a part of this department, and they’re a part of this community,” Anderson said.
KCSO says it’s been a long time since a K-9 has died that wasn’t already retired. They are training one new K-9 this year to add to their team.