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Cato, the canine officer who served the Willmar Police Department for 10 years, died Wednesday. Officer Craig Lange was the dog's handler, and he cared for him until his death on Wednesday. The dog had been retired from duty at the end of last year due to health problems. (Submitted file photo)

Willmar Police, community mourning loss of K9 Officer Cato

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WILLMAR — Cato, the canine officer who served the Willmar Police Department for 10 years, died Wednesday.

The loss was noted this morning on the department’s Facebook page. The dog began working with Officer Craig Lange in 2002 when he was 13 months old. The German shepherd retired at the end of 2012 due to health problems.

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According to the Facebook posting, during his career Cato was involved in 132 drug seizures, 178 property seizures and was deployed hundreds of times to assist various law enforcement agencies. Cato was also trained to track people and find objects. In 2011, Cato saved a man who had harmed himself and ran into a field and went unconscious during cold weather. Cato was able to find him.

The department is asking anyone with memories of Officer Cato to e-mail them to police@willmarmn.gov.

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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