Burien’s Animal Control Manager To Close Clinic, Will Still Operate Program
The continuing recession is forcing Dr. Leslie Kasper to close her Companion Animal Medical Center in Normandy Park effective Friday, Oct. 15.
But, Kasper told The B-Town Blog on Friday (Oct. 7), she will continue to manage Burien’s new Animal Care and Control program.
Kasper took the reins of Animal Care and Control on July 1 when Burien opted out of a King County partnership with cities for animal control to start its own program.
Her contract to provide all animal control services for the city – except pet licensing – for $120,000 a year runs through June 30, 2013.
Primary services include round-the-clock emergency response for vicious animals, animals with life-threatening injuries, and cases of hardship or law enforcement assistance, and the maintenance of an animal shelter with 24/7 emergency access.
Kasper, who wants to continue working with the city, said the program is “working out very well” after its first three months.
“I’m optimistic that this is going to work out just fine,” she added about providing Animal Care and Control services while ending her private veterinary practice.
And, said city Management Analyst Jenn Ramirez Robson, “We’re very happy with the job she’s doing” – an endorsement also made by City Manager Mike Martin.
“We want to keep doing business with her,” Ramirez Robson stressed. “Burien’s local program will continue.”
The telephone number for Burien Animal Care and Control will remain the same – 206-870-8471.
Kasper is subcontracting for kennel space for dogs as well as some cats with PJ’s Pet Ranch in SeaTac, where owner P.J. Seidenstricker has been “gracious enough to work with us.”
She is also talking with A Place for Pets in Burien about kenneling kittens and possibly some cats.
“We’re trying to get as many cats and kittens as possible adopted during the next week. We are lowering our adoption prices for cats and kittens to $25 without spaying or neutering,” Kasper noted.
Most of the adult cats now sheltered have been spayed or neutered; most kittens have not.
“I am hoping in the coming months to find a place for a shelter again where the public can come and adopt pets in one convenient, centralized location,” she continued.
Kasper’s financial problems at her veterinary clinic are unrelated to the services she now provides Burien. They stem mostly from unforeseeable bad timing – she opened Companion Animal Medical Center shortly before the recession hit.
Then, if a slumping economy wasn’t enough, along came Normandy Park’s 1st Ave. S. renovation project, which has been plagued by contractor and other management problems. Now in its second year, the project has made access to the clinic difficult.
Earlier she notified both city staff and the owners of her patients of the clinic’s imminent closure, and “the bank and I have decided that the best course of action is to find another veterinarian to purchase the practice.
“What what is best for me at this time is to focus on Burien animal control. It’s the best utilization of my time and energy. The city is very gracious to continue to work with me as we get through some bumps.”
Kasper also voiced appreciation for a positive public response with the start of the new program.
Ramirez Robson agreed that the problem is clinic finances, not with animal control services. “She was letting us know as soon as she could that there would be an issue with her facility,” she said.
“We have a contract with her to provide sheltering and field services, and as long as she is willing to fill that commitment we’re willing to have some patience even if the logistics are a bit messy for a short time.”
Burien police dispatch can contact Kasper regardless of where she locates so she can respond to calls about injured or vicious animals.
The city took over pet licensing services from King County and reduced license fees on July 1. Licenses issued in July were free to boost public interest and participation in Burien’s Animal Care and Control program.
Since Aug. 1, fees have been $20 for spayed and neutered pets and $50 for unaltered pets. Pet licenses can be obtained at:
- Burien City Hall, 400 SW 152nd St., Suite 300: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday
- Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave. SW: 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday
- Burien City Hall North, 1218 46 Des Moines Memorial Drive: 10 a.m.-noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Online at www.burienwa.gov/animalcontrol
In the local program’s first three months, a total of 1,157 licenses were issued in July, 189 in August, and 121 in September.
Animal Care and Control received 154 calls in July, including 33 calls for service, 28 about lost or found animals, and six dispatches by police.
In August, 107 calls were received, including 30 for service, 40 about lost or found animals, and four dispatches. In September, 71 calls, including 26 for service, 15 about lost or found animals, and three dispatches.