New twist in the tail as Officer gets K-9 back

The debate over Drago, the Red Lodge Drug Program K-9, continues on after Carbon County District Court granted a temporary restraining order against the City of Red Lodge “to return the Belgian Malinois dog” to Red Lodge Police Offi- cer Maleri Cates, the K-9 handler.

Cates had filed the restraining order and an Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction Should Not Issue with Carbon County District Court, Sept. 20. The City had until 5 p.m. Sept. 20 to return the dog to Cates or be held in contempt.

The Show Cause Hearing is set for Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. at the court- house.

The battle for custody of Drago began when the City decided to end the K-9 Program. A Red Lodge City spokesperson said when this deci- sion was made, a meeting was held between Cates and Mayor Mike Schoenike, City Attorney Rebecca Narmore, Acting Police Chief Scott Cope and Union representative Al Stuber. At the meeting Cates announced her intentions to sue the city.

Cates offered $2,000 for the ani- mal, and her agreeing to defend and indemnify the City from claims brought against the City as a result of any of Drago’s actions after its purchase.

A paragraph was inserted into the release saying that “Cates would waive any claims against the city up to the signing of the agreement to purchase the dog,” the City spokes- person said.

According to the City spokesper- son, Cates would not give up the oth- er claims.

The City rejected Cates offer on those grounds.

The deadline for offers for the animal ended Monday night, Sept. 18. Another municipality is now expressing interest in the dog.

More of the story in this week's Carbon County News paper.