Famed police dog retires in Great Falls

2010-01-09T22:40:00Z Famed police dog retires in Great FallsFrom Gazette news services The Billings Gazette
January 09, 2010 10:40 pm  • 

GREAT FALLS — A police dog that helped solve 213 misdemeanor cases, 84 felonies, assisted in the capture of 47 criminals and took down seven suspects on his own has retired from the Great Falls Police Department.

The 8-year-old Dutch shepherd named York retired Dec. 31 after a 51/2-year career with the agency.

“He had some excellent results,” Police Chief Corky Grove said. “We really hate to lose him.”

Officer Jeff Bragg is York’s handler and said York had about a 40 percent success rate in tracking criminals, well above the national average of 6 to 9 percent.

“He’s got a great nose on him,” Bragg said. “If he wasn’t there, (suspects) got away.”

One of York’s most well-known cases was when he tracked one of the city’s most wanted men through backyards and over fences for half a mile and then took him down when the man tried to run.

Bragg said York sustained what he called nerve damage over the years and retired six months early.

Grove said the agency is now down to two dogs and doesn’t have the $20,000 it would take to replace York.

“The city does not have the funds to replace the dog at this time,” Grove said. “It hurts us as an organization.”

York has retired to Bragg’s home and has a yellow Labrador for company.

On York’s retirement day, he received a special treat.

“I cooked him a big T-bone steak that day,” Bragg said. “He downed it real quick.”

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