Cold, blustery winter-like weather Saturday morning didn’t stop adults and children from taking part in the sixth annual 5-K-9 Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run held at the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office in Viroqua.
Before the event started, Vernon County Sheriff John Spears welcomed everyone. “With the weather the way it is, you all deserve a medal for showing up,” he said.
Lt. Jason Crume said organizers are looking at possibly moving the run/walk to sometime in June. “We’ve had bad luck (with weather) in April,” he said.
Crume also thanked sponsors and volunteers. “We can’t do this without you.”
Following the run/walk, runners and walkers were able to meet K-9 Myk and handler Deputy Sheriff Mark Bellacero. They were also able to watch a demonstration of K-9 Myk and Bellacero in action.
In the demonstration, an unruly driver (portrayed by Deputy Lucas Sellers) pretended to resist arrest. A battle commenced between Sellers and Bellacero, before K-9 Myk was released from the patrol car and assisted his partner by biting the arm of Sellers, who was wearing a safety suit for protection. K-9 Myk released his hold on Sellers only after he was ordered by Bellacero to do so.
After the demonstration, Crume said the Vernon County K-9 Unit dogs have only had to use attack mode four times, with most assailants surrendering first out of fear of being attacked. He added that when K-9 Myk is used in drug-related situations he barks, bites or scratches to let Bellacero know that drugs are onsite.
All proceeds from the event benefit the K-9 unit, covering costs for annual maintenance, training and equipment. The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office is currently down to one K-9 unit and is in the process of expanding its K-9 force back to two.