Busch Gardens Adventure Island is closed for the season, but Monday the pools at the water park are full of dogs.
Dozens of police and sheriff K9's are learning how to jump in and attack a training sleeve. Seven law enforcement agencies are using the water park as a training ground Monday.
The handlers are teaching their partners how to search for criminals and missing people around water, catch and drag a suspect and trace a scent through the water.
The training is crucial for the dogs so they can get used to working in water, especially here in Florida. Tampa Police Department K9 handler Ryan Flannigan explained, “Being in Florida, we are surrounded by all bodies of water- swamps, ponds, pools, lakes, the Gulf so it's something that builds the dog's confidence. We don't intentionally send the dogs in there alone or even with a handler because dogs become weaker in the water but this builds their confidence and takes their training to a more advanced level."
The K-9s do water exercises throughout the year. Typically, the police departments get the dogs when they are just 8 weeks old and by age two they are fully trained and ready to hit the streets.
Busch Gardens will drain the pools after the dogs wrap up their work.
(© 2016 WTSP)