Winchester police dog finalist in American Humane Association's 2014 Hero Dog Award

Kota and his partner, Cpl. Brittney Neer. Photo: WJLA

WINCHESTER, Va. (WJLA) - A Winchester police dog is in the running for a national heroism award.

Kota, a 7-year-old German Shepherd is the only local dog up for the American Humane Association's 2014 Hero Dog Award.

The Winchester K9 was injured in January while helping police apprehend a burglary suspect inside a home.

Officers found one intruder in the attic's crawl space. Kota found a second.

Kota fell eight feet, landing hard and snapping his elbow in half.

His partner, Cpl. Brittney Neer, heard his cries, but first worked with another officer to handcuff the suspects.

Before she could get to Kota, he'd already climbed back up the stairs, despite barely being able to walk, to make sure she was safe, and the mission complete.

“It's an incredible feeling, because you know no matter what, he's going to have my back,” Neer says.

Due to his bravery, Kota's now one of eight finalists in the American Humane Association's 2014 Hero Dog Award contest.

It's up to the public to select the winner. You can vote online once a day through September 15.

Neer says after three surgeries and many months of rehab, Kota's still working on his strength and conditioning.

But she says he's anxious to return to duty, just like the night he was injured.

“He loves to work, he wants to work and we want to get him back at work because he's good at work,” Neer says.

The eight finalists received $1,500 to go to charity. And the first place winner announced in September will receive $5,000 more.

If Kota wins, the money will go to K9s4COPS.

You can vote for Kota here: American Humane Association's 2014 Hero Dog Award