TOWER BARRACKS, Germany – A groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of the construction of a new military working dog facility Sept. 13 at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria.
The ceremony was attended by USAG Bavaria leadership, distinguished guests and two of the current kennel's residents, military working dogs Andy, 8, and Blus, 6.
With the groundbreaking ceremony, the construction phase for a new, permanent, standard design military working dog facility officially began. The facility will replace the current military working dog kennels which were built more than a century ago.
“This kennel is long overdue,” said Col. Kevin A. Poole, USAG Bavaria commander . “We have to take care of our canine friends of the 131st Military Working Dog Detachment. It breaks my heart every time I walk into this
kennel. I have been helpless for the last year, but we move a step further now that we are about to break ground on this facility.”
Planning for the new facility began in 2014 and construction was planned for 2019. Nevertheless, the pandemic and inflation delayed the project.
“Our old building was built in 1914, and it needed a massive upgrade for health and standard reasons for the dogs, so they have good care and health while they stay with us,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Ames, noncommissioned officer in charge of the plans and operations for the 131st Military Working Dog Detachment.
The new facility will be 5,070 square feet (471 square meters) and offer administrative offices, supply spaces, multipurpose rooms, food prep and storage, medical examination and training rooms and kennels.
The $4.6 million project is scheduled to be complete in the next three years.
“We have narcotics dogs and explosive detection dogs, and they all have bite work capabilities, so they are able to chase down a bad guy, find them and bite them,” said Ames. “We are composed of seven dogs, the maximum the kennel can offer at the moment. With the new building we will be able to house 14 dogs in total.”
The current kennel complex will remain operational throughout the planned 635 days of construction with the new kennel facility ready for occupation at the end of October 2025.
“The military working dogs that are stationed here provide law enforcement support for USAG Bavaria,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Staples, detachment sergeant for the Combined Military Working Dog Detachment – Europe . “They are also a deployable asset. We deploy to several different locations wherever the mission requires. To have these dogs housed well in proper kennels and to make sure that their health is taken care of is of the utmost importance for the safety of the community.”
“The facility will help ensure the proper training, safety, and wellbeing of our military working dog teams, which represent a strategic asset in Europe, Africa and around the world,” said Col. Richard Stearns , Commander of the 18th Military Police Brigade. “These teams deploy worldwide in support of the president, the vice president, secretaries of state and defense , key NATO and partner nations, and in support of the combatant commands.”
The training of a military working dog initially is 120 days at Joint Base San Antonio. After that they get sent to the field, and they get trained almost daily.
When the dogs are around 9 years old they retire, usually into the home of a former handler.