Kato, a retired Kent Police K-9 who survived a stabbing wound in 2013, has died, according to a department Facebook posting.
The 9½-year-old German shepherd, who served with Kent Police from 2012 to 2017, died of a ruptured tumor earlier this month, police said.
Kato was seriously injured in 2013 when he was stabbed by a domestic violence suspect in Des Moines. He made a full recovery and was back on duty within weeks.
Kato also helped locate another suspect who had assaulted a police officer, leading to a “prolific” shootout that was stopped by a propane tank explosion in 2014. Officers fatally shot a man during the shootout and four officers suffered minor injuries from the explosion.
“What was a seemingly unrealistic event was dwarfed by how unrealistic Kato’s survival was. His handler joked that he had nine lives,” Kent Police said in the Facebook posting. “Many more close calls studded his career.”
“What was never in the news was how gentle Kato was outside of work. He did regular visits at elementary schools and would let a crowd of kids swarm him with affection. He enjoyed nearly two years of retirement with his handler’s family. His family is thankful for his unrelenting loyalty, guardianship and devotion. Not just to them, but his Kent Police family and the community as a whole that he served so readily.”