Since 911, most every police department across the USA now has a K9 division. In the early days, many handlers kept their K9 partners at home. The thinking was that the handler and the dog could continue training during off hours, at any time, day or night. Today, I have noticed that this trend is changing. The liability involved, should a K9 get loose, is of considerable concern to most municipalities. So much so, that they are building their own kennel facilities.
In my book, Kennels: The Design Process, I tell a short story, where, on one 4th of July, just down the street from my home, a K9 police dog cleared a 6′ fence and escaped from his yard after hearing fire works. Once discovered missing, the police force from three different cities, began frantically looking for this fast moving, $20,000.00 police K9 who was now loose, scared, and roaming the streets late at night.
It is important, however, to look at all areas of the design, and consider how the facility will be used. For example, how it will connect to other spaced in the complex. These spaces can have special needs too, not found in other kennel environments. Perhaps a K9 training facility for bomb dogs or drug detection dogs will have specific requirements for the handling and storage of materials. Sometimes a training room is to designed in such a way as to depict certain training scenarios. All this must be taken into account.
Consideration must be made for the safety of not only the handlers and the K9 officers, but also for anyone else who may work, or pass through these areas. The flow of these spaces is crucial when dealing with K9’s. It is so important to give careful consideration to all aspects of the design with safety in mind.
Having a good understanding as to the workings of these facilities goes a long way in getting the design right from the start-and that’s what we do.