RED LODGE – The Red Lodge K-9 involved in a custody battle last year between his partner and city has died.
Drago, a Belgian Malinois service dog, passed away from complications during a routine surgery on Sunday, according to the Lewis and Bark Outpost.
His partner, Officer Maleri Cates, fought to keep Drago after the K-9 program was terminated.
Residents and supporters raised money for Cates to purchase Drago from the city.
Cates say she is glad people want to memorialize him and that "he was a corner stone in the community."
Her full statement:
"He was an incredible dog, partner, and friend. I loved him so much and when he passed away a piece of me went with him. He was a huge part of our lives and there will always be a hole from where he was. He had an incredible personality and was always by our sides. I’m so glad people are wanting to memorialize him. He was a corner stone in that community."