KENT, Wash. -- A Kent police dog went missing Thursday night, but was found safe in someone's yard after an hours-long search by several police agencies.
Kato, a 3-year-old K9 police dog, and his partner Officer Eric Tung were pursuing a car prowl suspect near Lake Meridian in Kent, when Kato ran off.
"It appears the dog may have smelled a deer and then pursued it," said Commander Rob Scholl of Kent Police Department.
Kato disappeared into the surrounding woods. One of the concerns was the leash he was still attached to.
"The leash can get caught or pull him while he's running," said Scholl.
Several police agencies joined in the search for Kato, including, Auburn, Renton, King County and Guardian One Helicopter.
In the end, it was Guardian One that spotted the dog, using infrared cameras. Kato was found sleeping in the front yard of Rosalie Sandberg.
"I woke up to find 15 cop cars in my driveway. They told me not to worry, they just found their dog," said Sandberg.
Kato may look familiar. This was the same dog that was attacked in September. Kato and Officer Tung were pursuing a suspect, when the suspect turned on Kato and stabbed the dog several times. Kato survived the attack.
Finding Kato unhurt after his disappearance means a lot to the department, especially his partner Officer Eric Tung.
“There is a special bond between a K9 dog and its handler,” said Commander Scholl. “They spend 10 hours together on the job, and then go home together."
Officer Tung declined comment; he just quietly took Kato's leash and left for home.