Brigg, Payson's First Police Dog, Dies


Another one of Payson's finest has fallen.

Brigg, the beloved Russian shepherd canine cop who for years sniffed out crime for the Payson Police Department, has died.


Brigg, the Payson Police Department's first K-9 cop and partner of Sgt. Rod Mamero, earned a Purple Paw award in 1999 for injuries suffered during a building search. The 11-year-old Russian shepherd died Saturday.

Partnered with Sgt. Rod Mamero, Brigg went to work for the department in 1993 until May 12, 1999, when he injured his leg during a building search for a burglary suspect and was awarded a Purple Paw.

"After putting in a hard-working career, he had to go into a medical retirement," Mamero said Monday. "Ever since then, he'd been a home dog. He was an integral part of my family."

The weekend before last, Brigg became ill. After being treated for an infection, the police dog's condition improved but only briefly.

"He never got back to his normal self, and last Thursday he got worse," said Mamero, who first took Brigg to local veterinarian Dr. Patti Blackmore, then to a veterinary hospital in Phoenix for surgery.

"We're still not sure what caused the problem," Mamero said. "But he held on for two days, which was a lot longer than anyone expected considering the amount of damage inside him caused by the illness and infection."

Brigg, at the age of 11, died Saturday at about 9 p.m.

"My wife and I were with him when he died," Mamero said.

From the beginning of Brigg's career as a canine crimebuster, he was Mamero's charge.

"He was steady," the police sergeant said. "He did a lot of good police dog work. He was known throughout the state. He was a good patrol dog, and a great dope-finding dog, too. One time, he found over 400 pounds (of illegal drugs) down at the Beeline-188 junction that had been sprayed with dish washing liquid, then wrapped up in plastic bags and Bounty sheets. But he still found it."

As for Brigg's burial, "We're just going to keep it in the family," Mamero said.

Donations in Brigg's honor can be made to the Payson Humane Society, 812 S. McLane Road in Payson, or to the Doug Johnson Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank, account number 532-072-7083.

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