BREAKING: Dr. Leslie Kasper Resigns As Burien Animal Control Director

Print This Post  Email This Post

by Ralph Nichols

The B-Town Blog learned Friday (Feb. 11) that Dr. Leslie Kasper, director of Burien Animal Care and Control, is resigning “to change directions professionally.”

Kasper, a small and large animal veterinarian, informed the Burien City Council of her pending move in a letter dated Jan. 27.

She hopes to leave this position as soon as a replacement is selected and trained, but could stay on until July 27 as stipulated in her contract with the city.

“I will be glad to participate and assist in this transition, but in my newly developed professional experience, I feel the city should begin this process immediately so as to attempt to switch management prior to the summer busy season.”

Here’s a copy of the letter, which can also be downloaded as a PDF here:

Burien City Manager Mike Martin said the city will pursue a two-option approach in seeking a new animal control director.

“One, we will go back out to the private sector with requests for proposals (RFP)” for services in three areas: animal care and control, sheltering stray animals, and veterinary services.

The RFP is expected to be advertised by the city next week.

Interested persons may submit a proposal to provide one or all of these services,” Martin said. “I would still like very much to keep it in Burien, with a local business or businesses.”

The full animal care and control contract is for $120,000 a year, “and I would like very much for that to go back into the community.”

When King County pulled out of animal control services last year, Burien opted out of a new regional cooperative program.

Dr. Leslie Kasper

Participation in the county’s regional cooperative would have cost the city almost $250,000 this year – while sharing a single animal control officer eight hours a day, five days a week, with several other cities and unincorporated areas.

Instead, Burien developed its own program, which involved contracting out animal field and sheltering services and bringing licensing services in-house at a cost of $120,000 a year.

Kasper, who at that time owned Companion Animal Medical Center in Normandy Park, became director of Burien Animal Care and Control on July 1.

However, the economic downturn combined with delays in rebuilding 1st Ave. S. through Normandy Park combined to force the closure of her veterinary clinic later last year.

Primary services for Burien Animal Care and Control are expected to remain the same: round-the-clock emergency response for vicious animals, animals with life-threatening injuries, and cases of hardship or law enforcement assistance, and maintenance of an animal shelter with 24/7 emergency access.

After the new proposals are received and analyzed, “if we are not satisfied, we will look at bringing animal control in-house and contracting out for veterinary care and sheltering,” Martin said. But at a time of government downsizing, “I very much like [the private sector] model.”

He added that “animal control is a discretionary service” for cities and counties” beyond capturing dangerous dogs and other animals. “People often forget that.”

“Burien Animal Care & Control has come a long way in the six months since its origin,” Kasper said in her letter. “We have established a known presence in the community, an overall successful opinion from its citizens, and helped hundreds of animals throughout the city.”

But, she cautioned, “The current animal control program … will not be sustainable without additional city support…. This dilemma has put a very large strain on me professionally, personally, ethically and financially.”

Martin said even in the last six months, Burien has received better animal control services from its fledgling program than it would have gotten from King County – while saving about $10,000 a month in what the regional cooperative program would have cost the city.

So…what do YOU think of this news? Please take our Poll below, or leave a Comment…

What do you think of Dr. Leslie Kasper resigning as Director of Burien Animal Control?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Print This Post  Email This Post


11 Responses to “BREAKING: Dr. Leslie Kasper Resigns As Burien Animal Control Director”
  1. Kat says:

    Has anyone checked on the cats that are suppose to be in her “office” on first?

    • Terry-Jo says:

      We adopted our cat “ZuZu” from her 1st Ave Center in January and had a great experience. We love our little kitty and she is a wonderful addition to our family.

      I Wish Dr. Leslie all the best…

  2. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Well it’s about time!! Now we gotta hope Mr Martin and the council can find the proper person / organization to fulfill their promise to we citizens! It’s too bad so many animals had to suffer to reach this point.

  3. TcB says:

    It would be too hard of a job for me, to euthanize all the animals.

  4. Wheels says:

    I applaud Dr. Kasper for stepping aside, but will the next person do better with those resources? If she says the current program is not sustainable without additional support, is the city willing to provide that support?

    Mr. Martin is not correct in saying “animal control is discretionary.”. Perhaps it isn’t mandated by law, but having no animal control would cost our community much more than having proper animal services.

  5. kitty lover says:

    I am heartsick to think how this City has put our Animal Control at such risk. In an effort to save $$$, the City elected to run off with an unplanned and unrealistic program. Animal Control issues are multi=faceted and face enormous challenges for all Cities. Why not admit that this was a faulty plan, partner with established programs at present, and start a planning phase for possibly instituting our own Animal Control Program at a future date. Putting stray and/or dangerous animal’s lives and care at risk is not what our Citizenry wants. I have not, for instance, seen any Spay and Neuter Programs instituted by the City to help contain or control potential problems, and it is obvious they have been extremely naive as to the requirements for a sustainable and humane Animal Control program for our City.

  6. notsupprised says:

    “Martin said even in the last six months, Burien has received better animal control services from its fledgling program than it would have gotten from King County”

    YOU can BS yourself, but quit trying to BS the taxpaying citizens of this community. If you can say “Burien has received better animal control services from its fledgling program than it would have gotten from King County”…..Than I can say, If Burien would have went with King County, there would not have been as many COMPLAINTS from the community, and the citizens/animals would not have had such POOR service.
    You get what you pay for !….Something my father taught my family long ago. Make a decision to do something, invest a little more knowledge/money and it will pay off in the long run……What a concept eh!…..come on,wake up quit trying to put the taxpayers money back into YOUR pocket. Get some expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education concerning this animal care and control program and establish a program that serves the public and the animals of this community.

  7. cOUNCIL wATCHER says:

    King County proposal was 4 hours a week. Hoepfully someone local will bid on this contract

  8. Cindy says:

    Why aren’t the citizens voting on where to get the service from?

    1) Animal control is not just a matter of picking up strays etc. You have to have people who are specifically trained to do the job.

    2) Equipment and training to use it

    MOST IMPORTANT here is the abiltiy to provide:

    3) Appropriate facilities to house the animals

    4) Staff to provide approriate and vet care for them

    The City of Burien does NOT have the facilities to provide for these animals. The current plan of farming them out to various vets is NOT a feasible option.

    There is ALREADY a organization equiped to fulfill ALL those needs. IT is the Former King County Animal Control under NEW management and FUNDING

    The Regional King County Animal Control has been reorganized, reatructured.

    It is a cost sharing entity that covers All of King County and those municipals that choose to pay into it. Costs are based on acttual services provided Those costs are offset by the costs of licenses and fees to reclaim and adoption etc.

    There is NO way ANY city can provide the same quality of care and service without a SUBSTANCIAL outlay of monies to get it started.

    Monies is the bottom line and these cities that think they can provide better for cheaper are only doing so at a DISSERVICE to the citizens and at the cost of the care of the animals.

    Unless the City of Burien can show that they are ABLE to provide More and BETTER service than RKCAC they need to go back to contracting with RKCAC.

  9. June says:

    I don’t really care if Burien continues to try and “go it alone” or contracts with the new regional animal services program. However, IF they go it alone, they need to thoroughly research what resources are required to do the job properly. This isn’t just a matter of housing a few animals here and there and responding to a few compaints here and there. Burien is a city of approximately 32,000 residents and those residents deserve a comprehensive animal care and control program, one that provides adequate public safety and provides the appropriate care and welfare of its animal citizens. This cannot be done cheaply. There’s built-in infrastructure needs. A public shelter is not the same thing as a kennel or a vet office. It needs to be designed to handle public health issues inherent in a stray animal population. There needs to be comprehensive foster, volunteer, spay/neuter promotion programs, and EVERY citizen needs to pay for this (through licensing revenues). Please think carefully Burien as you now have an opportunity to do this right.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!