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Canine training service wants courthouse annex

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A proposal presented to the Putnam County Commissioners on Monday could have the former Putnam County Courthouse Annex going to the dogs -- in a positive way.

Scott Boswell, state director of Vigilant Canine Services International (VCSi) inquired about using the facility at 209 W. Liberty St., Greencastle.

Since all county offices were moved out of the building last November, the annex has been empty, except as storage space for the county. VCSi is interested in changing that.

VCSi provides K-9 training to police officers and their dogs across the country. They also offer K-9 services and even sell the dogs themselves.

Boswell said the company is seeking a building like the annex as a place to conduct training. VCSi currently has no building in Indiana devoted solely to training.

Instead, they must use schools when they are not in session or otherwise inhabited. This leads to scheduling problems as well as the potential of the dogs damaging the buildings and their contents.

There would be no such worries in a facility devoted to K-9 training.

"We feel a centralized training facility for Indiana would be beneficial," Boswell said.

He said if a lease of the building was granted, VCSi would take care of the building and the grounds, as well as pay all utilities and taxes.

"If we sign a lease, the care of the building is completely on us," Boswell said.

He also pointed to the building's former life as Jones School as a selling point.

"It's an education center," Boswell said. "If we're not using it for kids, we'd like to use it for our young dogs."

Boswell also said the building would be available to local police departments as a training facility for human officers as well.

Commissioner Nancy Fogle said she wants to know what neighbors of the annex think of the idea. She said the future of the building remains unclear.

Fogle and Kristina Alexander said they would discuss the possibility, including commissioner Gene Beck, who was absent Monday, in any discussions.

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