Canine keeping a keen eye on Public

Fascinating and significant story of Kennel Division of Sri Lanka Police

Their history is fascinating. The history of these animals, which are intertwined with human civilization, teaches us many lessons.

An honest and loyal companion in the long journey of human life, this animal has been associated with human civilization for over 35,000 years ago. They probably are the first tame animals. They say when a dog looks to a human, he think of them as God. 

According to genetic studies, modern domesticated wolfs originated in China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Scientists believe that wolves were first attracted to human camps to enjoy leftover food. In time, wolves began to travel with nomadic humans, and were gradually tamed.

By now, these dogs have become animals that play a pivotal role in the lives of the entire population. Their role is not only to live together with people but also to save people from dangers. The Kennel Division known as K9 of the Sri Lanka Police is a prime example of this human-animal cohabitation.

Leading under the vision of a unique service to build a peaceful society, the dogs working under this division assist in the suppression of various illegal activities including crime prevention, raid on illegal drugs and illegal explosives.

On November 4, 1948, Inspector ONO Shockman, who was the OIC of the Wellawatte Police Station, came up with the idea of starting an Official Dog Unit to enlist the assistance of the Official Dogs for the Police Duties of the Police Department. Accordingly, it was inaugurated on December 1, 1948 in Colombo. Inspector Shockman was the first OIC of the kennel Unit, which was established with just two dogs.

Inspector Shockman wanted to select several police officers as dog handlers. Three in team a of police constables who had completed their training in June 1948 volunteered to handle the dogs. 

Mr Shockman prepared two cages for the two dogs at his own expense at the same police station. Later due to weather conditions and veterinary facilities, The Kennel Unit was moved to Kandy.

The present Police Kennel Division at Asgiriya, Kandy was formerly run as a British Army Camp and was handed over to be maintained as a farm at Tyrannati College in 1930. Since then the premises have been handed over to the Police Department and it has become a suitable environment for dogs to be cared for.

By 1959, the unit had eight members. Accordingly, Sub Inspector Waniganayake who had been attached to the Kennel Unit was appointed as OIC. Following the establishment of the Kennel Unit in Kandy, there has been an increase in the demand of dogs for criminal investigations.

gs, Rex, had been instrumental in solving crimes. Rex has contributed to solve 7 serious crimes, including three murders within 15 days. As the result Rex was promoted to sergeant in 1959 for his invaluable contribution.

The decade between 1960s to 1970s saw a huge growth in the K9 unit. SP Rudra Rajasingham, who was in charge of the Central Province, has made a great commitment in this regard. The Police Kennel Unit expanded rapidly to bring about successful outcomes on duty. A few kennel units were established in various parts of the country. In 1990 the Kennel Unit declared as an independent division.

We all know that the threat of terrorism has affected many countries in the world today. One of the main activities of the terrorist operations was the detonation of ammunition and explosives. These catastrophes have taken place the world over. The only tool that can detect this explosive device before the explosion is a trained dog.

There are 12 trained dogs in detecting explosives in Kandy while there are 75 outstation. 7 are trained in tracking and 11 in narcotic while there are 49 and 62 outstation respectively.

 There are no substitutes for these animals when it comes to the invaluable contribution they make to the prevention of drug trafficking, the capture of criminals, and the maintenance of social order while assisting humans in every aspect of human livelihood.

 The responsible role of this animal, which became accustomed to eating the leftovers of food hunted and eaten by people lived as tribes thousands of years ago and obeyed humans, is very important for the safety and well-being of humans today.

After all, they have taught us how discipline and being well mannered are the foundation to a life of honesty, integrity, and loyalty. 

(Lanka Courier team wishes to thanks, Mr C. D. Wickramaratne, Inspector General of Police Sri Lanka Mr Nilantha Jayawardena, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Province, Mr. A.H.M.W.C.K. Alahakoon  Deputy Inspector General of Kandy District, and Mr. Sujith Wedamulla, Director of Kennel Division in Kandy, Mr Janaka Kolugala, OIC Training – Chief Inspector of Kennel Division and all other servicemen and servicewomen of Sri Lanka Police for their immense dedication and contribution for facilitating us to have the insights of the Kennel Divisoon ( 9). A special video on K9 Division will be available in our official YouTube channel)

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