Reno, the Fresno County sheriff’s dog who lost an eye in a 2009 shootout but continued to serve with his deputy handler, died Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office said. The German shepherd was 12.
“This boy battled some illness recently and was a true warrior,” sheriff’s Lt. John Reynolds said in an announcement. “He was full of energy (Friday) and he fought until his very last breath.”
In July 2009, Reno was shot in the left eye when he and handler Robert Marean were sent to a tire shop on Elm Avenue just south of North Avenue after deputies responding to a domestic dispute were ambushed and wounded by gunfire.
The gunman, Jesus Serna, was armed with an AR-15 rifle. He fired at two sheriff’s vehicles, hitting a marked car driven by deputy George Ozburn and an unmarked car driven by detective Mark Eaton. Ozburn was wounded by a bullet and glass fragments. Eaton was wounded by flying glass.
Serna fled into a business and took cover in a yard full of wooden pallets. He fired on deputies and struck Reno in the head. Deputies returned fire, killing Serna.
Reno was treated by veterinarians and returned to duty six weeks later.
Reno received several awards, including the 2009 Community Champions Award from The Big Fresno Fair, the 2010 Animal Rescue Hero Award from the Central Valley American Red Cross and a Purple Heart from the Sheriff’s Office.