LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Saying it’s long overdue, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton was joined by Chief of Police Lawrence Weathers, Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt and several other dignitaries in cutting the ribbon on a new kennel for the city’s K9 unit.
“This new facility is designed to reduce stress and injuries,” Gorton said. “There’s also room for grooming, veterinary services, training and exercise,” she continued.
The facility on Byrd Thurman Drive, near the Fayette County Detention Center, will replace the old facility, which had been around since 1968. Back in the late 1980s, the kennel was dedicated to Roy Mardis, a K9 officer who died in the line of duty, in 1985. His widow, Sue, was on hand for today’s ceremony.
“Roy didn’t think anybody appreciated him,” she joked, while adding that he’d love this new kennel.
Mardis would’ve celebrated his 70th birthday this August, 35 years after he was accidentally shot and killed while another officer hunted for a fugitive.
“I’m not trying to sound morbid,” Mardis said, “but (Roy) always said, ‘I’ll die on the stinkin’ end of a bloodhound,’ and that’s exactly what he did. But he loved doing it,” Mardis added.
She said her husband was always working with the dog, even when he wasn’t on duty, which echoed something Chief Weathers said about his K9 officers.
“They’re 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on-call whenever we need them, in any kind of adverse condition and any kind of weather,” Weathers said. He then thanked city leaders and the community for helping to bring his officers and their dogs a top-flight facility.
The kennel, which took a little more than one year to build, will be able to accommodate up to 20 dogs, including two from the Fayette County Sheriff’s office. The previous building housed only 13.