Putting a good plan in motion to better care for our animals




For the Auburn Reporter

The subject of shelter animal care is an emotional issue, and one that until just recently divided us in county government.

Strong feelings expressed from people in our community and the great number of emails and calls demonstrate how much we all care about the animals in our shelters. It is emotional because those of us with pets often consider them part of the family.

It is especially painful to know that we aren’t giving the best care possible to the living, vulnerable and innocent creatures that are in our shelters because they were lost, unwanted or have been abused.

Last May, the King County Council directed the Animal Care and Control division to take the steps necessary to become a model animal-welfare program.

We knew that the process could not be implemented immediately, but we articulated the following goals for our shelter to attain:

• Recruit the help of volunteers and rescue groups that can help us find homes for animals

• Advertise available homeless pets

• Improve medical care and ensure every shelter animal is up to date on vaccinations,

• Expand low-cost, high volume spay/neuter services,

• Model compassionate shelter leadership and management, and

• Participate actively in a feral cat trap/neuter/release program.

Changes must occur

During the last six months, we have received disturbing reports by our citizens advisory committee and two expert consultants indicating that our shelters are falling far short of the goals we set for them. Consequently, the council and executive recognized that we had to work together and outline immediate changes that must occur in order to provide the basic care and treatment that these animals need to live, thrive, and find a loving home.

On April 10, we announced a joint proposal that focuses on efforts to achieve these goals.

We are proposing immediate shelter and operational improvements, funded in part by donations from the caring individuals in our community who have donated to the animal benefit fund. The county will replace all of the cat cages and add dog runs in a separate area on the Kent shelter’s property or nearby.

A shortage of space at the current facility has resulted in overcrowding, increased stress and increased risk of disease among shelter cats and dogs. Separate facilities for dogs and cats will greatly reduce stress on cats at the shelter.

We’re also proposing new staff, including a veterinarian and veterinary technician, during peak animal population months and new training for staff.

Looking forward, we have outlined a four-month process to provide recommendations on whether the county should build a new shelter, reorganize the delivery of animal services among different agencies, or reorganize animal services in partnership with other providers.

The recent town hall hosted by the King County Council in Burien was the start of that conversation. Nearly 700 people attended.

A work group with members from the executive, County Council, Public Health, sheriff and prosecutor will develop a plan designed to achieve our goals. It’s vital that we continue to hear from you as we develop a model animal-welfare program in King County.

As we work to improve the shelter facilities, their operation and staffing, we ask you to consider adopting a cat or dog from our shelter or volunteer at the shelter or to foster ill animals or animals too young for adoption. We need everyone’s help as we move forward.

Julia Patterson of SeaTac is the King County Council member

representing Tukwila, Kent, Renton, Des Moines and SeaTac.

Ron Sims is the King County executive.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Deputies find missing Auburn woman’s remains near Snoqualmie Pass

The King County Medical Examiner confirmed on Monday that a body found… Continue reading

Firefighters find vehicles engulfed in flames | Fire blotter

Between Aug. 3 and Aug. 9, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded… Continue reading

King County Parks closes Five Mile Lake, Lake Geneva parks as visitors fail to follow COVID-19 safety rules

Closure of the parks begins today, Aug. 7, until further notice, county says.

Protesters of fatal police shootings rally at Auburn Justice Center

Four seconds. That was all the time, said Jesse Sarey’s former foster… Continue reading

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

I-5 to close overnight in Federal Way Aug. 28-30

5-mile shutdown for new bridge construction at 70th Avenue East in Fife

Here is the critter Scott Seagren found on his property on Green Valley Road. Although it has not been confirmed, Seagren said he has his doubts it’s a murder hornet. Courtesy photo
Was it a murder hornet, or a case of mistaken identity?

Auburn man makes discovery after setting traps.

Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is the world’s largest species of hornet. 
                                Courtesy of WSDA
State nets its first Asian giant hornet

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has trapped its first Asian… Continue reading

Most Read