The bond is strong between K-9 and cop, and the city of Red Lodge agreed on Wednesday to hand over Drago, the town’s K-9 service dog, to Officer Maleri Cates.  The city’s action came after Cates, who served as Drago’s handler for two years, sued and obtained a temporary restraining order granting her custody of the dog as a pet. reports that in August, Red Lodge Mayor Michael Schoenike decided to end the K-9 program.

Schoenike said part of the decision was financial as well as the conclusion that the program was not producing a significant return of investment.  Drago, according to municipal documents, appears to have been purchased through a restricted cash account for nearly $10,000.  Another agency reportedly offered $2,000 to buy Drago, but Cates had worked to raise the necessary funds to match that offer.

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