A few miles down a winding gravel road in Scottsville sits a brown building with the words Advance Canine Academy in block letters above the door. Behind that building are four vehicles sporting dusty windows and flat tires. They serve as part of the training ground for these future K-9 officers.
Gene England tosses a marijuana-scented tennis ball is tossed into the car and one of the dogs-in-training races in after it, searching high-and-low to find which crevice or under which seat the ball went.
When the dog emerges, England implores a handful of students to remember what they saw.
“Jumping, spinning, barking, licking, biting – every bit of that stuff – you’ll find more drugs off those indications than you’ll ever find off this one [scratching],” said England. “As of Day 1 when you write in your journal, you’ve gotta write how your dog behaved out here today, you log it.”
Law enforcement and government officials say drug trafficking is becoming more common in these parts, even though Kentucky is a long way from the Texas border with Mexico.
“We just recently had one of our dogs down in Ohio County hit eight pounds of crystal meth and a pound and a half of heroin. We’ve never encountered heroin in all my years in Kentucky until recently,” said England.
For over four decades, England has been training dogs. Law enforcement dogs in particular. His rural property in Allen County has plenty of space for the dogs and their handlers to learn the ropes.