Dog-training facility in Walters looks to double in size

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WALTERS—A Walters dog-training facility that opened in June with 200 kennels would like to add 200 more.

If approved by Isle of Wight County officials, American K-9 Interdiction will become — to co-owner Paul Roushia’s knowledge — the largest private kennel in the nation.

The kennel, which trains dogs for the police and military, also would create 50 to 70 jobs that will start at $30,000 a year and pay as much as $80,000 to $100,000 annually, Roushia said. Jobs will include hunt dog trainers, kennel attendants, quality assurance, inspectors and more.

The Isle of Wight County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, to consider American K-9 Interdiction’s expansion plans.” The hearing will be held in Robert C. Claud Sr. Board Room at the county courthouse complex.

In November 2009, the Board of Supervisors voted to sell a former, 51-acre detention camp on Burdette Road to American K-9 for $200,000.

The county also approved a special-use permit allowing for a commercial kennel for the training of dogs, storage of high explosives and the boarding of military and civilian trainees.

Now that American K-9 wants to put up an 18,500-square-foot building for an additional 200 kennels, the county needs to amend the special-use permit, said Matt Smolnik, principal planner with the county.

American K-9 also wants to expand its training hours to 10 p.m., Smolnik said. Currently, the company trains until 6 p.m.

Roushia said his company is “preparing for expansion.”

“We’re a growing company, and we’re almost at our maximum capacity and are looking to grow some more,” he said. “We’ve been blessed with growth and hard work and perseverance by the entire staff.”

Should the county approve the special-use permit, construction on the new building could begin as early as January and take 60 days to complete, Roushia said.

American K-9 Interdiction employs a total of 69 at its two facilities—25 in Walters and the rest in Hartsville, S.C.

In 2009, American K-9 was granted approval to build a facility in Zuni, but backed out and said it would leave the county.

“It wasn’t a good fit so we moved to South Carolina,” Roushia said. “The county approached us about moving operations back to Isle of Wight. It’s been a very good fit. We took a piece of unproductive property, very unsightly with barbed wire and guard towers, and cleaned it up.”