A Baltimore County, Md., police K9 facility that was built on a former landfill and closed for testing after the cancer deaths of several dogs will not reopen.
The department announced Nov. 28 that the canine unit will now operate from four precinct houses throughout the county. The decision resolves a year-long dispute between the union and the police department over the facility.
Police union leaders had blamed the deaths of at least four dogs on the facility. Five dogs who lived there died within on year; four had cancer or signs of tumors, while another had a collapsed lung.
The canine unit opened in the Baltimore Highlands area in 2004. In September 2005, police closed the facility after two dogs died and about 30 employees filed injury reports complaining of headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems.
In all, four police dogs that had been stationed at the facility died of cancer, according to the police union.
In January 2006, after an estimated $300,000 in environmental testing, Baltimore County officials declared the canine facility safe and found no environmental links to the deaths of the police dogs.
However in May, a report commissioned by the county police union determined the site should remain closed until lingering questions about its safety were answered.
It’s still unclear, police said, where a new canine training facility will be located. Since the current facility’s closure, training has taken place with other agencies, including the Maryland State Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police.