Auburn welcomes community animal shelter

Kelley Durham, executive director at the Auburn Valley Humane Society animal shelter, talks to Girl Scouts about the new facility.  - Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
Kelley Durham, executive director at the Auburn Valley Humane Society animal shelter, talks to Girl Scouts about the new facility.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

Auburn's community animal shelter opened right on schedule Tuesday at its new home on A Street Southeast.

That means that in addition to the shelter on A Street and Auburn once again having its own animal control officer, all pet licenses will now be issued through the City, not King County.

On Dec. 28, the Auburn Valley Humane Society celebrated with an auction and ribbon cutting at Emerald Downs, punctuated by a night of live music and hors d'oeuvres to celebrate and honor the charter members and the new facility. The event raised more than $9,000 for the shelter.

Shelter Director Kelley Durham said there will be an open house from 12 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19. The ribbon cutting is at 11:30 a.m.

The doors will be open from 12 to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Even though the doors are open, Durham said, there are still needs to be met.

"We mostly need dog and cat food, cat litter, dog toys, cat toys, bleach and stainless steel food bowls," Durham said. "As for volunteers, we need foster homes, volunteers to answer phones, dog kennel cleaners and cat condos cleaners."

In February 2010, Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, Councilman John Partridge, a community veterinarian and a concerned citizen met to talk about the future of animal care in the Auburn. For more than 30 years, the City had contracted the sheltering of its homeless animals with the services of the regional program provided by King County Animal Control (KCAC).

In 2010, budget shortfalls forced KCAC to change their service model and shift administrative costs to the participating member cities.

The change produced unsustainable costs and resulted in reduced services.

The initial conversation that occurred in 2010 led to today's Auburn Valley Humane Society. The group has grown over the past two years, with a board comprised of Auburn veterinarians, area business owners and citizens. The primary goal was to establish an independent local animal shelter aimed at caring for Auburn Valley's lost, stray and abandoned pet population.

The shelter also will serve as a community education center where pets and people can come together and where people can expect pet-related seminars from local veterinarians and staff on topics ranging from grooming to diabetes.

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