There are 32 kennels at police headquarters. At any one time there could be up to 40 dogs and sometimes more as some handlers have two or three dogs which live together. During the summer the kennels are always full but during the winter there are on average between 10-15 dogs at any one time.
A breeding programme was set up five years ago and has proven to be successful. At the moment the unit breeds German Shepherds and in the future hopes to breed Cocker Spaniels.
At present the unit has around two litters a year but also gets dogs from outside sources such as breeders, members of the public and rescue centres.
On average a German Shepherd bitch will have around 7-9 pups which is a large litter. The unit has a purpose built whelping area in the kennel complex, which is designed for a bitch and her pups. The full time kennel team are all trained in whelping and the rearing of puppies.
The force has it' own brood bitches (used for breeding) and although they sometimes use stud dogs from outside breeders they have started using their own dogs.
To keep the dogs in tip top condition the kennel complex has a well equipped grooming room which includes a purpose built dog bath to allow easy access for large dogs without having to lift them. There also is an adjustable grooming table, the height of which can be altered depending on the breed.
Sick or injured dogs can be kept in a specially built isolation area. This has its own large grass exercise area and was built in case a dog has a contagious virus or disease.
It’s made up of four kennels complete with its own medical and food preparation room and a foot bath. If a dog is sick or injured there are contracted vets who treat the dogs. The force has its own medical stock for minor illness/injuries. The team ensures all dogs are up to date with their vaccinations, wormers and flea treatments.
There is a regular exercise regime for the dogs. There are ten large exercise areas and two large fields on HQ site which are used for training and exercising. The aim is to exercise all dogs every 2-3 hours, which includes free running of the field.
There is a team of 3 full time and 2 part time kennel attendants.