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‘Hanging up his collar:’ Bozeman K-9 officer retires after successful career with city police

Posted at 9:31 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 23:31:40-04

BOZEMAN – A Bozeman police officer is retiring after helping his department for years put a stop to drug crimes and many other cases.

Except he’s not handing in his badge — he’s hanging up his collar.

For any K-9 officer, the bond between animal and handler goes deeper than the job.

And for K-9 Kuno, if you take a look at his track record, you would be surprised to know that he’s just a dog.

“We get a phone call or we get a radio call,” said Officer Tracy Senenfelder, Kuno’s handler. “We don’t ask questions. We just go.”

Whether you have two legs or four, being a police officer is a lot of hard work.

Kuno has known the drill.

He’s had four and a half years to get it down.

“I always knew going into any situation, he was there and he would do what he had to do to help me out,” Senenfelder said. “It’s one of the things that I wanted to do when I first started in law enforcement and just after six years of being on the department, I was given the opportunity to get him. He’s lived with me the entire time.”

Senenfelder knows his partner has seen it all.

“We’ve seized just over 30 pounds of drugs off the streets as well as just over $75,000 in cash, numerous firearms,” Senenfelder said.

Also, Kuno is more than a professional fetcher.

“When he knows that he’s going to go into a training situation for a bite, you can just see it in his face, kind of that smile,” Senenfelder said. “He knows that he’s going to have fun and he really does enjoy it. He’s had a good career and today’s the end for him.”

So on Wednesday, it was a bittersweet note for Senenfelder.

Kuno got to retire.

“His body has definitely been put through it quite a bit. It’s just a matter of trying to transition him to realize that he gets to lay around and retire and be a dog,” Senenfelder said.

And a special dog who got to have a special treat on his last day on the force, courtesy of Dairy Queen.

“He even got a cone, thanks to Dairy Queen. He even got a cone.”

For Senenfelder, it’s tough, not only because Kuno’s paws will be big ones to replace.

He doesn’t get to keep Kuno.

“He’s going to be going to a home up in Lewistown area,” Senenfelder said. “He’s not going to be confined to a small backyard, that’s for sure. It’s nice to see that he gets just relax and I’m really hoping that he can find that within himself to be able to relax. It’s probably going to take a little bit of time to set in, but it’s nice knowing, like I said, he gets his time to relax and hang out.”

When Senenfelder looks back at the memories and the experiences, it’s clear: Kuno was the perfect example of an officer, whether you have two legs or four.

“No matter what call ever came out, I always had my backup right there with me,” Senenfelder said. “Without even knowing, he would lay down his life to save mine and that is pretty humbling.”

Kuno’s replacement will be picked sometime next month and will start training then.

Story by Cody Boyer, MTN News