Debra George Part Of Group Expected To Operate Burien Animal Control

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by Ralph Nichols

Burien City Council members will be briefed tonight (April 4) on a new non-profit organization that is expected to assume responsibility for Burien’s Animal Care and Control Program next month.

The successful proposal was submitted to the city on behalf of the Community Animal Resource Education Society by Debra George – a past executive director of Discover Burien who now produces special events and manages the local Farmers Market for the downtown group.

UPDATE 4/4/11 5pm: Debra George sent us the following information, which includes names and background on the other parties involved in this organization:

Michael (Mike) Snyder has been heavily involved in many areas of canine training and public education for over 15 years. Mike has trained his American Pit Bull Terrier dogs to the highest title possible in obedience, agility, weight-pull and conformation – his dog Penina was awarded the first “Super Dog” title by the United Kennel Club. He is president of his local breed club and was president of the National American Pit Bull Terrier breed club for 10 years. Mike is a veteran of the Marine Corps, has a black-belt in Taekwondo, and is a graduate of the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. He and his family reside in Burien, where Mike has also been very active in coaching youth sports for both his daughter and son. Mike owns a small business in Burien that designs and produces award ribbons for dog shows, horse shows and school events. We are proposing Mike as the lead Animal Control Field Services Officer.

Guy Knepp has owned a grooming salon in Burien for 4 years, specializing in geriatric and difficult pets and often dealing with significant animal behavioral issues. He is a graduate of the Pet Smart Academy, is a member and certified by the International Professional Groomers Association, and has been grooming dogs and cats for over 11 years. Guy has also been active in Chow dog rescue for 15 years. In 2010, Guy attended the Introduction to Animal Control Training offered by Des Moines animal control. Guy is active in Burien community events through Discover Burien and is a resident of Burien. We are proposing Guy as the lead Community Education and Public Relations Specialist, and as a back-up Field Services Officer.

We are proposing Sherry Myers as the Animal Placement Coordinator. For the last 20 years, Sherry has been heavily involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of dogs in the Puget Sound area. Sherry is the president of the local American Eskimo breed club; the rescue coordinator for the local breed club; the Washington State Chapter of HeartBandits, a national rescue organization; and was a breed representative with Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue for 15 years. Over the years she has established long-term relationships with most local shelters and rescue organizations. At the request of the Humane Society of the US, Sherry assisted in the rescue of 371 American Eskimo Dogs from the puppy-mill in Kennewick, WA. She has attended classes and workshops on canine first aid, canine behavior assessment and modification, and the “language of dogs”. Sherry has trained her own dogs in obedience, agility, conformation and as certified therapy dogs. Sherry is a long-time Burien resident and property owner.

Unless council members direct otherwise, City Manager Mike Martin will execute a contract with the organization, which will run from May 1 through April 2014, at a cost to the city of $10,000 a month for a total of $360,000.

But Councilman Jack Block Jr. served notice at the March 28 council meeting that he “would like to see a discussion over whether to move forward with a contract or in-house with our own animal control officer.”

Noting that he has done the research, Block said the costs of a contract are about the same as a city animal control officer, “which would be a benefit to our citizens.”

A motion approved by the council will be needed for the city to explore an in-house animal control option.

Debra George with her mother after receiving the City's 2011 Business Leader award. Photo by Michael Brunk.

And Councilwoman Lucy Krakowiak, undeterred by the cost for the service provided, again encouraged lawmakers to revisit King County’s regional animal control program.

The regional program, which went into effect last July 1, would cost Burien about $300,000 beginning July 1 for a single officer whose services would be shared with several other jurisdictions five days a week.

In April 2010, the Burien City Council opted not to participate in this program and, two months later, awarded its own animal control services contract to Dr. Leslie Kasper. But in January, Kasper gave the city a six-month notice that she will no longer provide these services.

In addition to details about the Community Animal Resource Education Society, the report to the city council also notes that SeaTac and Tukwila, which have contracts with the county’s regional program that expire in January 2013, “are interested in exploring alternatives when they do.”

And King County expressed reservations about how bringing Burien into the regional program at this point “might impact our existing partner cities” as well as Burien’s smaller animal control budget.

Regarding an in-house program, the report noted that Des Moines “budgeted $121,000 in 2011 for animal control” with one officer who is part of the city’s police department, but does not include an animal shelter.

“The Burien contract provides for a similar level of field services and sheltering but it does provide the opportunity for a contractor to create a more comprehensive sheltering and adoption program should they wish to do so,” council members have been informed.

“It is our understanding that the proposed contractor intends to provide community outreach and educational programs and animal placement services in addition to the basic animal control services they would provide as stated in the contract.”

The Burien Animal Care and Control contract requires the contractor to take stray animals into custody and transport them, investigate animal control complaints, and enforce animal control laws and regulations.

Emergency response is required 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for vicious or seriously injured animals, as is animal shelter services for animals that require impounding or quarantine.

“The animal shelter facility shall be opened to the public, with qualified staff on the premises, at least 40 hours each week, one day being Saturday,” the contract states.

It also provides for the adoption, disposal and euthanizing of unclaimed animals.

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55 Responses to “Debra George Part Of Group Expected To Operate Burien Animal Control”
  1. Burientie says:

    What?!?!? OMG, how on earth is Debra George anywhere qualified to be a part of an animal control program???

    COME ON Burien, get your act together and do some REAL research into starting your OWN animal control program.


  2. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Sounds like another act of cronyism! Let your council members know how you feel! We must protect the animals. Might be time for the “Vote the bums out” campaign to start.

  3. Rob says:

    Well, I know Ms. George is a hardened animal lover, and judging by the way she runs the farmers market, think she might be an great answer to Burien’s Animal Control problem. At least someone is stepping up to help find a solution.

  4. June says:

    I’m glad that Burien has found someone to take on animal control responsibilities, but your report does not provide enough information to get a sense that Debra George will be any more successful than Dr. Kasper who indicated in her resignation letter that the city did not fund the program sufficiently to operate the program. She was a vet with her own clinic that could operate as a shelter. What sheltering facilities will the Community Animal Resource Education Society use? Maybe they will be more succesful in finding homes for unwanted animals. With the limited budget that Burien has provided for animal control services, stray animals probably won’t be held much past their required 3-day hold period. I worry that animals will be euthanized because there is not enough money to house them until a suitable home can be found.

    • June says:

      This is a post from 2006. I’m not sure of its relevance.

      • Wheels says:

        What’s relevant is that in the 2006 article Ms. George says she has little to do with The Mark, but in the recent article about the fire it is referred to as her restaurant. Maybe there was a conflict of interest or maybe there wasn’t. Ian said people should do their homework, and I hope that includes asking whether Ms. George is right for this job.

  5. Ian Gunsul says:

    I’d like to point out Debra George is part of an organization-C.A.R.E.S- that from what I understand is based on established groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society. Instead of flying off the handle with assumptions do a little research.
    She has proven managerial and organizational skills that she will no doubt share with the other members of said organization, and I’m sure that some members of said group will have experience in animal care and control. Also, being a non-profit means all the money from the city contract will be used for the benefit and control of our local animal population, instead of bureaucracy.
    I think it’s great that a local group has stepped forward to take on this task instead of relying on government to deal with it.

    • Wheels says:

      When I google “Community Animal Resource Education Society” I get no results. I agree that we should do a little research. Perhaps Debra George could tell B-Town readers more about CARES, and tell us what qualifies her to run an animal control program. She could also tell us why, when Dr. Kasper says the current funding is not sufficient for an adequate animal control program, she can do better.

  6. Wheels says:

    From the update that Ms. George provided, it sounds like CARES is a brand new organization made of people with good intentions and some experience in business. However, the group seems to have little or no experience in animal control.

    The fact that the city manager is bringing it before the city council means it is a foregone conclusion. Council members may posture, or put their objections on record, but they won’t say no to anything Martin suggests.

    So, with the three year contract for this organization, that will make 4 years of experimentation, trying to find out what works for animal control in Burien. In those four years, how many thousands of animals will receive less-than-optimal care in our community?

    I wish CARES the best of luck in their new adventure, but I will remain skeptical until they can demonstrate their supposed expertise. They are probably our best hope since Burien citizens will never get themselves organized to vote the current council members out of office and fire Martin.

  7. fish says:

    What a JOKE!!! Your wasting MONEY again,bottom line…

  8. Jack Block Jr. says:

    Here’s the discussion at Council tonight. Contract with well meaning but minimally trained individuals for part time services with limited enforcement authority or create a full time uniformed professional position for the same price. I advocated for the latter at tonights meeting and am working to convince my colleagues to go along. Weigh in at [email protected]

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      I think Jack has the best idea yet to be put forward. But there are still many questions. You should read Fosterpets comments as they pretty much sum it up….adequate funding,proper training,proper facilities, etc,etc… the city needs to be responsible for the program and it’s implementation. These phoney contracts to any Joe blow that says they want the job is just a lame attempt to pass on the responsibility. Been there,done that! Tell Mr. Martin to do his job, do the research, get this done right, Jack!

    • way2busy2sit says:

      Mr. Block – your proposal sounds like the City of Des Moines model. Can you provide statistics on the number of un-claimed stray pets the City of Des Moines euthanizes vs. the number they adopt into new homes? I think the Council and the residents of Burien should be provided more information regarding the option you support.

  9. Burientie says:

    Is this a done deal then??? WTF-over…

  10. cautious says:

    I’m concerned because two of the people on the proposed organization are Presidents of their local breed clubs. While Sherry’s bio talks about working with rescue groups, Michael’s does not.

    The biggest problem facing Animal Control and shelters across the nation is pet overpopulation. Passing initiatives on spay/neuter programs will be counter-productive to their “breed clubs”, because it will be removing money from the breeders pockets. Also, why isn’t there a bio of Debra? I’d really also like to read her qualifications as I wasn’t able to attend the meeting last night.

  11. Shari says:

    I used to work with an animal welfare organization in another state and it really is overwhelming in terms of the expertise, supplies and money necessary to do it right. This is such a critical issue for this area–these animals are so vulnerable. I appreciate people stepping forward to try to pick up this work. I will admit that I’m just not really clear on whether it’s a full 501c3 nonprofit that’s being discussed…but if so, then there is going to be a need for massive, full-time and year-round hardcore fund development efforts. Benefit dinners, auctions, other events, capital campaigns, awareness and marketing, grants, grants, grants, grants and more grants..

  12. kitty lover says:

    OMG….When does the City of Burien get anything right????? I am so frustrated with even thinking about what happens to any animal in need of shelter, much less care and rehabilitation. I had a man stop me that had found a lost dog and had no clue where to take it….I had to admit that I was of no help to him. I hope he was able to take the animal home with him until he could find a shelter that might be willing to house and care for him, attempt to locate his owner and NOT euthanize him just because he was found.

    I just do not understand why this City does not partner with King County’s known program, and then undergo some study with SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines, to possibly partner in a credible program after research and development.

    Giving the responsibility of animal control to unknown entities is not only foolish, but is unconscionable. I really hate to say I live in Burien when those controlling our existence are so unqualified.l he could find a shelter that might be willing to house and care for him, attempt to locate his owner and NOT euthanize him just because he was found.


  13. fosterpets says:

    “George, who has said she needs to supplement her approximately $50,000-a-year salary, added that Discover Burien directors allow her to do other work and prefer that she do so in the city.” –

    This is the same reason Leslie Kasper took the Burien Animal Care & Control contract – to save her from financial woes – her failing veterninary business.

    Attn: people of Burien – the fate of vulnerable homeless pets is not your ticket to financial salvation! The contract as the city offers it is not enough to cover the cost of sheltering animals responsibly, with all the best practices in the field. It’s not going to make you any extra income.

    Sherry Meyers seems qualified to operate as animal placement coordinator, but neither Michael J Snyder SR or Guy Knepp appear to be qualified for their proposed roles, and anyone involved in a shelter needs more than an “intro to animal control” course. Have any of them worked or volunteered at an actual city shelter, or even been inside one? Do they have the qualifications to be hired in these roles in another city?

    Why is Burien trying to reinvent the wheel when they have no experience with said wheel? Look at the job requirements at the Seattle Animal Shelter for these respective positions. Talk to Don Jordan about a referral for a director, or Annette Laico at PAWS. It isn’t that hard to do this right. We are not the first city to run an animal shelter.

    BTW- where is the volunteer program? the foster program? the veterinary fund? the spay/neuter program? the feral cat program? the plan to isolate and TREAT sick animals (not euthanize them) away from the healthy population? the adoption outreach program? the referral network for chronically ill or geriatric pets?
    Running a shelter involves the need for all these programs and more, and qualified staff/volunteers to implement and run them.

    The city of Burien needs to be held accountable for providing a qualified group who can answer these needs. So far they have shown to know not one thing about running a shelter, or how to vet (no pun intended) candidates for the contract (track records, etc). We need PROVEN SUCCESS with animal sheltering best practices. This is not some backwater town. We are part of a major metro area. We should expect the BEST, and the best certainly is available to us. We don’t need Burien residents or business owners in order to do a good job, we need sheltering specialists with BACKGROUND in SHELTERING. It’s a different realm from being a veterinarian, or a dog trainer, or a Posh Puppy grooming salon owner, or a breeder (breeding goes against the philosophy behind spay/neuter altogether, and the problem of pet overpopulation).

    Can we find someone from No Kill King County:
    or from No Kill Advocacy: to develop a state of the art, forward thinking, model shelter? Burien should be ahead of the King County curve with a kinder, gentler way to protect pets, not floundering in idiocy. We should do better than PAWS, or Seattle Humane. We should do at least as well as Seattle Animal Shelter.

  14. Elizabeth2 says:

    fosterpets – could not have said it better. Thank you for so clearly and factually stating the concerns many of us have regarding this proposal.

  15. pethelper says:

    PRETTY SAD !!! WHEN ALL I read is most bashing those who are trying to step up and help, Picking apart their experience ,their jobs or businesses?? How childish, Instead of looking at what they bring to the table, plus if they get the additional training needed to perform the job, they sound like they could be a good community group. Pretty sad all of you are so quick to judge others,, (You know who you are !!) but I don’t see any of you stepping up and helping your community with this problem,, So hat’s off to those people who are trying to help their community !! I think all have great qualifications!! I hope the city helps them succeed.
    WHY? Because we need to work together and solve this issue, instead of contracting outside with some group who doesn’t even know our community! I myself have been involved with the rescue and animal placement for over 20 years, I have seen a lot and worked with many dangerous animals of ALL types, so the two people with rescue experience bring a lot to the table, plus knowing who Debra George is, (not personally, but have seen her around) She brings a lot of community experience and know-how with working with our city. So again instead of judging the good will of others, Try to help the situation or shut up!!. If there is a position to volunteer, I will volunteer my time. That’s how I am going to help my community!! Anyone else???

    • Shari says:

      I think emotions run high on this topic because so many of us are deeply concerned that the vulnerability and suffering of animals who can’t advocate for themselves risks getting reduced to a line item in a (very tight) budget. And it seems like there are a lot of people in the community who are aware that animal sheltering and animal welfare is a field with a certain amount of technical complexity and they’re wanting to ensure that best practices and benchmarking research is done to, again, ensure the well-being of the animals. I am also hearing some awareness of the complexity and hard work of running a nonprofit business in any sort of truly sustainable way. So when you ask why people aren’t stepping up to help their community with this problem, I think I’d say that’s exactly what’s happening. The conversation is heated because people care very deeply about first and foremost doing right by the animals and doing it in a sustainable way. I’m betting everybody who has posted so far will step up to volunteer time, resources and advocacy once things are up and running and right now are trying to help the community by ensuring that everything’s planned thoughtfully.

  16. fosterpets says:

    I would LOVE to step up and provide this service for this community. It is a lifelong dream of mine to open and run a no-kill shelter/rescue organization. One which would offer temporary housing/placement for those who cannot care for their pets due to temporary medical/financial or locational reasons (ie. deployment, loss of job/house, illness etc). I feel many people would retrieve their pets after they resolve these temporary issues is their pet was cared for and kept for them.
    BUT, as a new mother and the primary caregiver for my child and family (pets included), I do not feel I could provide the best service at this time and live up to my responsibilities to my family. I still feel that although I cannot fill this need at this time, I can expect it to be provided to the community by professionals in the field. I do not feel we should accept whomever feels like taking care of Burien’s animals, or whomever feels like being awarded the contract for financial motivations if they are not qualified.
    Weighing in on this issue is the best I feel I can do at this time aside from volunteering and/or adopting from the shelter.

    • way2busy2sit says:

      It is so easy to be a critic and not part of the solution, Instead of weighing in on this issue, without researching your facts about the intent of the group involved or the City’s funding ability, maybe you should spend your time on your family responsibilities?

  17. fosterpets says:

    think about this: some animals that are found will need to be euthanized due to major trauma/injury/illness. The city’s budget does not include money to pay hired staff or contract with a local vet. who exactly will perform this task? will local vets offer the service pro-bono? Will Michael Snyder Jr be doing it himself? Is he a vet tech? Is he trained to perform this procedure or to make the call that it is necessary? Is he legally allowed to perform euthanasia? Do they have biohazard storage and disposal abilities? and a budget for it?
    who will be treating animals with URI’s and other treatable injuries? where will they source the antibiotics and SUBQ fluids? Is there a fund for that? Who and where will they perform blood tests on animals who present with symptoms? is there a fund for that? who will determine which pets are treatable and who has the training to do so? which one of the proposed persons knows protocol for sterilizing the shelter; how to prevent and deal with panleukopenia outbreaks; who will be performing spay/neuter surgery and how will they get paid?
    there are a myriad of questions and issues in running a shelter and I do not have confidence that this proposed group has the knowledge or experience to fulfill them. I also do not believe city council has a clue as to what running a shelter takes and what they need to look for. It looks like a free for all.
    I’d like answers to these and more questions. I’d like to see the proposal and budget plan.

    • way2busy2sit says:

      Well you must not want to see the proposal or the budget very badly. Both are readily available at Burien City hall. So why don’t you take a few minutes away from your negative blogging and go down and read them? Then at least you would be commenting on fact instead of conjecture.

      • Eaton B. Verz says:

        Have you read them? I have seen the budget. I have yet to see the proposal. Please enlighten us. Where will the shelter be? What programs will they implement? What about euthansia? Who will do it? Under what circumstanes? If you have a copy post it here! I’m sure Scott won’t mind…

  18. Teak says:

    What about enforcement of animal abuse and neglect? It seems like Burien just wants to cover the basics, but animals deserve so much better.
    Good to know the prop and budget are avail. I’d be interested to see it too.
    Why are some of you using personal info to attack a well meaning, concerned resident? These are all good points. Foster cats obviously cares alot about animals. Maybe more than about appeasing egos. But we should all be concerned more with the fate of our animals than our egos anyway. I think it’s good to call out these questions. Don’t be small minded, small townies. Think about the good of anyones pet who could end up at the Burien shelter.

  19. Bleatt says:

    Way2busy – you sound very defensive, offensive and possibly misogynistic?
    I don’t see anyone attacking any of these candidates personally, but you seem to be the one doing this. Maybe you are one of the proposed candidates in the CARES org?
    I took the suggestion to look at job desc’s for animal control officers at other city shelters and i agree that none of the people recc’d by Debra appear to fullfil the requirements. Maybe their resumes and Ed prove otherwise, but their bios do not. This is not an insult to them. It is an issue though about whether they can do better than Kasper, and do justice for the animals.

  20. Bleatt says:

    Sherry sounds awesome and very qualified for her proposed role. Can she reccomend qualified candidates for the other 2 positions? since she is so involved in many aspects of local animal care I’m sure she must know many wonderfully qualified ppl. Do they HAVE to be Burien residents/business owners?

  21. Debra George says:

    We at CARES understand completely everyone’s concerns and would like to address some of them. The City RFP is about offering Animal Control Service for Burien – 24 / 7. Training of our animal control officer is a priority and level 1 and 2 training from the National Association of Animal Control will be happening before we assume any contract from the City. Michael will have just as much, if not more, training than many Animal Control Officers in our state. The City is not requesting that we maintain a shelter, but it is our intentions to do so and work on Adoptions and Fostering of any and all pets. We plan to be a NO KILL facility. We ARE going to make spay and neutering mandatory for adoption. We are also planning on offering community outreach each week at the Farmer,s Market with pet of the week and Low Cost to No Cost Micro Chipping. We will be working with the local vets in Burien for any medical needs and working the PJ’s Farm for long term sheltering until we can get a shelter set up.
    I truly understand everyone’s passion on this subject, I was just as passionate a year ago when this came up. I have spent the last year researching other communities, other non-profits, other shelters and talked to a lot of people before deciding to move forward with a group of people who are equally as passionate about animals as I am. In closing I ask that you do not judge us before we leave the gate, that you give us a chance and instead of putting us on trial before we have done anything, you come and volunteer and help in the new start up non-profit to assist in Animal Welfare in our Community.
    We are a group of individuals who have the best interest of the ANIMALS of Burien. We all bring different levels of experience and just like any business it will take all levels to make this work. You can e-mail me at [email protected]

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      Well, it all sounds so good. But so did Dr. Kasper. I applaud you for you effort. If the city decides to award you the contract I would encourge a one year contract instead of three. Both parties would have some protection. CARES is an unproven entity and there seems to be debate as to whether $120,000.00 a year is adequate. I just do not want to deal with another kitty holocust. I would still feel better if the city was responsible. I think there would be more oversight and citizen input.

  22. Sherry Myers says:

    I’m astounded at how quickly people can criticize and form negative assumptions with so little information or facts. One of the major drawbacks of electronic media is the impact it has on the common curtsey humans afford each other in their interpersonal communication. But so be it – it’s what we have available today and I can no longer remain silent in the face of all the mis-information being discussed on the topic of Burien’s Animal Care and Control program. Like my concerned, compassionate friends and neighbors in Burien I’d be most pleased if the City had hundreds of thousands of dollars available to spend on a state-of-the-art animal shelter and control program. This is not a reality, however, for a city with a budget the size of Burien’s unless other critical city services are eliminated.

    First and foremost, any assumption that those of us involved in CARES are in any way motivated by “financial salvation” is totally and completely absurd. Aside from our full-time Field Officer, no one in the group will be compensated beyond a minimal stipend for the work they do. The most valid point you make is that $120,000 per year is not enough money to provide the humane care for the animals of Burien that all residents should expect. We agree. Which is exactly why we are forming a not-for-profit organization – so we can solicit funding from other sources. Our greatest hope is that the citizens of Burien will rally around this organization and help make this truly a community solution to a very difficult issue.

    So if we aren’t all going to become personally rich from the $120,000 per year contract, how is the money going to be spent? IN PROTECTING THE SAFETY OF THE RESIDENTS OF BURIEN AND THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF THE ANIMALS.
    Be assured that no one involved with CARES entered into this proposal without reservation. As a group, we’ve spent hundreds of hours in shelters working with the animals, staff and volunteers. We know how heart-wrenching the plight is for lost or unwanted shelter animals. So before we even developed or submitted our proposal we spent many, many hours and our personal funds in researching the issues and risks. We have training scheduled for Michael that will result in a certification from the National Animal Control Association by June 2011; we have letters of intent from local veterinarians and boarding kennels to provide sheltering and health care (to be funded by the $120,000 City contract); Michael and Debra took a trip to the Pasco to visit the not-for-profit organization providing animal control services to the Tri-Cities area; we’ve spent time with the City of Des Moines animal control officer to discuss issues and concerns; we’ve identified a van we can configure and use for animal transport; and we HAVE developed or are currently developing plans and documentation for a volunteer network ,a fostering program, a micro-chipping program, spay and neuter services, and community education programs. We accept that we are facing thankless, much criticized, and controversial work from the human contingent – why we strongly believe it requires a group of committed and connected individuals, not a single person, to take it on. We’ll gain our personal satisfaction and reward from the animals we help.

    I’d very much welcome the opportunity to address your concerns and share your experiences personally. If you send your contact information to me at [email protected] I’ll contact you to arrange a meeting.

    Sherry Myers

    • petlover says:

      Wow. I’ve seen a lot of comments here that sound like they come from people that are passionate about this cause. Sherry’s comments were just hostile and sarcastic. This is certainly a sensitive subject as it should be, but I am concered about someone helping to run this program if they start off this angry. There is a difference between anger and passion.

  23. fosterpets says:

    THANK YOU, Debra and Sherry for addressing this. It is very difficult to get all the info from news articles and meeting notes. I’m sure you both understand how horrified many of us are at how the Burien Animal Control played out over the past year. It sounds like you all are as well. I hope you can understand our skepticism that City Council is capable of making a good judgment call on this given the call they made last year. Criticism is largely over the way this has been handled, not against any of you personally or professionally.
    I believe all of our questions, in light of this past year, are valid and deserving of a voice and a response. I for one am so glad to hear some answers to at least some of our questions. Sorry if it sounds critical of anyone personally, or if you are in the unfortunate position of being, not judged, but questioned, before you leave the gate. I think people realize there were not enough questions asked in the past year, and so your group will face many more than may have come up for Dr. Kasper.
    I think arranging a town meeting is a FABULOUS idea. And it is only gracious considering that we residents do not have a vote in the organization that takes control of our animals’ fate. Thank you for the offer. Especially if you could each speak about your experience and plans to become competent in shelter administration (it is clear you are all qualified in your current respective positions, no one questions that) and address the concerns voiced here, and then allow for questions. After all, they are our pets you will be caring for in the case they are lost/stolen/injured etc. It is of our deep concern. It would be great if an open town mtg could be scheduled and posted in the Burien Times or on this site, or both.
    I think deep down we are all so excited that Kasper is out and a good group could take over and serve our animals right. And your comments here fuel this hope for me. But of course there is caution. We are hopeful to support and accept your organization if all these concerns are addressed.
    Thank you.

  24. fosterpets says:

    I also wanted to say that, given that the city wanted to handle the basic, archaic, and frankly barbaric minimum service aspects of animal “control”, I for one appreciate your organization’s desire to run a full service shelter with current best practice standards in the field. I hope you draw on local residents experience to achieve this.
    I have to say though, that I recently spoke with 2 vets in local clinics, and they had not heard of your group or plan or had any contact regarding working with CARES. Maybe you speak with managers at clinics and not DVM’s directly, but I hope that contact is being made at present, so that is it a certainty that CARES will have the vet support it will need.

  25. fosterpets says:

    oh, AND, public relations is an important key to finding funding. Avoiding being defensive and reactive when responding to people’s questions and concerns will be key. You will all need a thick skin and a good face to reflect the shelter in order to secure community support and financial funding.

  26. pethelper says:

    THANK YOU Sherry and Debra for shedding light on this sensitive subject. After going down to city hall and reading the proposal and RFP, I feel both parties have the best interest of OUR animals in mind. I agree with Debra about NOT judging them before they leave the gate. Unlike Ms. Kasper who took this task on by herself ( yes I did some research on this) This group of people have many resources and experience, I feel if they learn from what failed with Ms. Kasper, that their group with volunteers will be successful. Of course there always is a learning process. Having said that, Mr. Snyder being sent for training before he even goes to the field is an excellent idea !! He has already participated in a ride along with other organizations, shows me that he is taking this seriously and wants to be prepared.

    Remember everyone, we as a community need to be involved to make this succeed, I personally feel that if the City of Burien hires this in-house, that the community may not be involved as much as we would like, we all know how government works?

  27. fosterpets says:

    It’s great that Michael is receiving the training, and went on one ride along. That’s a step in the right direction. Although it’s a little simplistic to assert that he will be more highly trained than other officers in the state. Regardless of courses taken, many wonderful officers in the field have extensive experience and knowledge, so I would hesitate to make that bold statement. Michael will need a lot of experience too to be on equal ground, and we are all hoping the animals do not get the short end of the stick during the learning curve. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about, but as I said, questions, not judgments are important here.

  28. pethelper says:

    OK ENOUGH of the negative comments!! Fosterpet, I have read ALL your posts and find them condescending. It’s more than apparent you have a problem with these people, REALLY is it really important to point out such OH! “Michael will need a lot of experience too to be on equal ground, and we are all hoping the animals do not get the short end of the stick during the learning curve”
    You don’t think these people know this?? You already stated that you have no time to volunteer, so stay at home, and let the professionals take care of this. And NO animals will get the short end of the stick !! Try and be more positive instead of negative, like I stated before. SHUT UP!! Go blog somewhere else with your free time. We as a community have work to do.

    • Bleatt says:

      pethelper, are you feeling threatened? maybe you are one of the proposed members? or a city council member?
      I don’t see anyone making truly negative or personal comments except you & way2busy. only the threatened feel the need to silence, or insult others. I don’t see it as negative to question a very serious issue. animals in Burien had a bad year and we have no vote on who handles it next. why don’t you shut up and let people say what they need to say?
      you are making statements and promises about things you cannot predict. so maybe you silencing yourself on things you cannot know would be a good idea. and stop the negative attacks on others.

    • Bleatt says:

      pethelper – usually only those with something to hide, or with some sort of inadequacy complex, try to silence others.
      I have seen bad things happen at shelters that are very experienced and good intentioned. It’s the nature of a difficult industry, so it is certainly not uncalled for or negative to ask questions of this brand new organization and its members. if you were an animal in a shelter, you might appreciate the hesitation about this new group. or about the city’s attempt to run a shelter on the current budget. it is not enough money to do it well.

  29. Elizabeth2 says:

    I would like to see people post here feeling freet o express their opinions – this is, after all, a democracy!

    However, there is NO call for the kind of language, abuse, and rabid personal attacks that have sprung up here. Please feel free to let us know all the various points of view on an issue but keep it clean and calm. I would not allow my children on their worst day to speak to ANYONE the way some of these people posting have.

    Clean it up, please and be respectful of people with differing points of view.

  30. Thom Grey says:

    Duh Dudes and Dude Pethelper,
    Like some of you need to go back and look at this editorial of what happen to Ms. Cunningham because Burien was not and is not running a responsible animal control program– Both Dr. Leslie and Debra George are chumps for bidding an animal control program that is not adequately funded or thought out. Dudes, none of these players have any experience with animal control. No one with real animal control experience will take the job for the amount of money being offer in the contract. Tippsy Mikie Martin looks for marks that are too dumb to know that the job can’t be done for his contract amount. Duh, then when SH** hits the fan he sits back and lets the contractor take the heat and bad press. Dude Pethelper, you need to get your head on straight; this is not about Debra G. or her group other then that they are not qualified for the job. This is about making sure there is enough money in the contract to feed, shelter, medically care for these poor animals and have a qualified staff. Stop defending a program model that has already failed once and a lot of animals died because of it.All dudes on this blog, this is about a city manager who is not honest about the contracts he puts out and the animals that are going to suffer because of his lack of sober sense. Remember, he keeps telling us the city has more than a million dollars in surplus in our budget. But golly, gee whiz, he can’t pay for better animal control and his lap dog city council members go along with his cheap ways. Wonder what kinds of bones he is throwing them? Dudes, stop snarling and snapping at each other and demand that the city council put the right amount of money in the contract and hire professionals to run the program. Dogs and cats in Burien will yip and meow in glee when the City Council finally gets rid of Scrooge Mikie Martin.

    • fosterpets says:

      “the city has more than a million dollars in surplus in our budget. But golly, gee whiz, he can’t pay for better animal control and his lap dog city council members go along with his cheap ways”

      no kidding! Thanks for mentioning this poignant fact.

  31. Jeff G says:

    Dear Mr. Grey,
    Yes Burien has a limited budget for this task, I don’t feel it’s Mike Martin holding the check book that’s the problem, and the city council needs to vote to allocate more funds for animal control. So why pick on someone who you probably don’t even know??? A non-profit could work for them excepting donations to help with the costs of housing animals and giving the proper veterinary care. There many ways an organization can do this through community events also. A non-profit can work with local businesses and Vet’s for reduced care. This model does work, Check out animal control in the tri-city area. I did after talking with one of the individuals. YES it is very sad to what happened to Ms. Cunningham, I have met her, what a fantastic person. We all hope nothing like this EVER happens again. So we move forward and do our best to make sure of it.
    I do agree with Pethelper, He does have his head on straight; defending a program is where it must start to succeed. There is no guarantee that the city is going to award the contract to them anyway. It’s still all just a proposal. So if they do get the contract can they count on you for help?
    I am a longtime Burien resident, animal lover and a retired animal control officer from Florida. I remember when I first started out, going to pick up a gator was no fun task, (At least we don’t have any of them here) but I learned, by proper training and experience.

  32. fosterpets says:

    I hope CARES will be subject to this exciting new legislation, which will hopefully be passed nationwise!!!
    The No Kill Advocacy Center and No Kill Nation are excited to announce the launch of their joint campaign to create a No Kill nation: Rescue Five-0. Working with grassroots activists across the country, Rescue Five-0 will seek the introduction and passage of The Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) in every state, model legislation which mandates the implementation of the proven life-saving programs collectively known as “The No Kill Equation.”

    To launch the campaign and to inform legislators regarding the urgent need for shelter reform, Rescue Five-0 has sent model CAPA legislation and Nathan Winograd’s groundbreaking book detailing the history and future of the No Kill movement, Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America to every state legislator in the country: 7,400 in all. No Kill activists are encouraged to take advantage of this profound and unprecedented educational outreach to our nation’s lawmakers by requesting that their own legislators follow the lead of Texas, Rhode Island, and New York, where versions of CAPA have already been introduced, as well as Delaware, where CAPA became state law last year after its unanimous passage through that state’s legislature.

    CAPA mandates simple, life-saving practices that most people would be shocked to know are not already standard operating procedure at our nation’s shelters, and which, if implemented nationwide, would save the lives of millions of animals being systematically killed in our nation’s shelters every year. Among other equally common sense provisions, CAPA bans the common practice of killing animals despite empty cages, and mandates that shelters must allow rescue groups to save the lives of animals they are planning to kill. In short, CAPA requires shelters to implement the programs and services which have already succeeded in creating No Kill communities throughout the nation, but which the majority of shelters in this country have refused to adopt willingly.

    “We have known how to end the killing at our nation’s shelters for over a decade now, and in more communities than ever before, we have,” says Nathan Winograd, attorney and Executive Director of the No Kill Advocacy Center. “Unfortunately, the vast majority of shelters in this country refuse to follow the proven, life-saving mandates prescribed by the Companion Animal Protection Act, and millions of dogs and cats are killed in our nation’s shelters every year as a result. Progressive laws which reform our shelters by requiring them to operate according to the most innovative and progressive standards is the right of every animal entering our nation’s shelters, and every animal loving, taxpaying citizen.”

    No Kill Advocacy Center attorneys will be available to assist grassroots activists through the legislative process in their states, while the vast network of animal activists created by the No Kill Nation will be mobilized to support CAPA wherever it is introduced. “In the last several years, the No Kill movement has grown at an astonishing pace,” says Debi Day of No Kill Nation, which has created a network of over one hundred thousand animal lovers. “Activists nationwide want to see an end to the killing, and are anxious for substantive ways they can make that happen. We are thrilled to offer a means to harness all of that compassion, dedication and determination. Rescue Five-0 provides animal lovers with a straightforward, concrete means to assist in the creation of a No Kill nation through the democratic process. And we will use our vast network of animal lovers to create groundswells of public support for these laws whenever and wherever they are introduced.”

    Rescue Five-0’s Companion Animal Protection Act is part of a three-pronged approach to nationwide shelter reform: leadership, political advocacy, and legislation.

    Activists, Legislators and media are encouraged to visit for the latest news on CAPA nationwide and for free downloads of model legislation, supplemental materials and a how-to legislative primer for activists, “There Ought to be a Shelter Reform Law: An Activist’s Guide to Passing Humane Legislation.”

  33. fosterpets says:

    Burien Animal Control currently does not test for FIV/FELV or microchip before adopting. I hope CARES will. I’m kinda glad Dr. Leslie hasn’t tested b/c the positive cats might not have made it out of the shelter otherwise. But it is irresponsible. There are rescue networks for FIV cats.
    If they cant microchip, can they scan for microchips on pets that come in lost or stray? How do they find their owners???

  34. Bleatt says:

    what follows is a job description for a model executive director, from No Kill Coalition. Burien/CARES should fulfill at least this:

    The ideal candidate will have excellent management and supervisory skills and the ability to develop a cohesive and positive team, which will be customer-service and animal oriented. She or he will be a self-starter who is well organized, innovative, and professionally motivated to develop and implement the goals, objective, and policies for the agency. The ideal candidate will have exceptional interpersonal skills that can build bridges with the community and must be an effective communicator with the ability to speak to a variety of audiences. The ideal candidate will be firmly committed to the No Kill philosophy as identified in the U.S. No Kill Declaration. Although prior sheltering experience is not required, candidates who do have such experience must have a demonstrated record of lifesaving success.
    Essential duties and job responsibilities include the following:
    Humane Care and Shelter for Animals in Need
    • Oversee the care provided for the animals that come under the protection of NHS and ensure their humane treatment.
    • Implement short and long term strategies which responsibly reduce intakes, increase adoptions, improve animal care, provide behavior and medical rehabilitation, encourage spaying and neutering, and help pets stay with their responsible caretakers.
    • Ensure responsible pet care through enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
    Program Development and Administration
    • Plan, organize, coordinate, review, evaluate, and direct the implementation of programs providing animal care services to the general public and other animal welfare agencies.
    • Direct the administration of such programs including, but not limited to, shelter management, adoptions, fundraising, veterinary services, and animal welfare education.
    • Assure that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
    • Work with representatives of other animal welfare organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses and community groups to develop and implement collaborative programs and services, and to raise alternative sources of funding to aid in overall NHS goals.
    • Provide assistance to the city’s animal control shelter, community and volunteer groups, animal welfare organizations, and the general public.
    • Oversee marketing and publicity for the organization’s activities, programs, and goals.
    Staff Management and Development
    • Be responsible for overseeing the recruitment, employment, direction, management and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.
    • Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are conducted, that motivation systems are utilized and that sound human resource practices are in place that abide by local, state and federal law.
    • Maintain a climate which attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people who support and promote the mission and goals of the agency.
    Budget and Finance
    • Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices. • Prepare financial reports, budgets, and summaries, submit budgets for approval,
    and monitor compliance of expenditures within approved budgetary constraints. • Oversee development and fundraising efforts.
    Compliance with Laws, Regulations, Policies, and Guidelines
    • Understand and implement operational compliance with current federal, state, county, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines that affect operations.
    • Oversee record keeping practices for legally compliant adoptions, staff personnel files, budgetary accountability, and all other functions.
    • Maintain official records and documents. Perform related work as required.
    NHS is looking for an innovative and dynamic individual who brings skills, enthusiasm, and accountability to animal care and control. It is not essential that the successful candidate have senior management experience of an animal shelter. NHS is looking for someone with specific and transferable skills (working in a team environment, leadership, financial control, management, bottom line results) that can be transferred to the shelter environment, such is found in other professions (business, law, veterinary medicine, public administration, public relations, etc.). However, candidates who do have prior sheltering experience must have a demonstrated record of lifesaving success and be committed to the No Kill philosophy.
    1. EDUCA TION:
    A BS or BA is required in Business, Public Relations, Communications, Public Administration, Public Health, Veterinary or Animal Sciences, Law, or a related field.
    A minimum of three years experience in a supervisory position with transferable skills such as business, law, veterinary medicine, communications, public administration or other related field.
    Ability to work with and around animals including diseased, injured and/or vicious animals, loud noises, chlorine and other chemicals, inclement weather, and evening and weekend work. Allergic conditions which would be aggravated when handling or working with animals may be a disqualification.
    Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid Nevada Driver’s License and have a satisfactory driving record.
    Affection for animals, concern for their welfare and a willingness to accommodate animals in the work place.
    The salary range is $70,000 to $100,000 depending on experience. After a period of employment, the director is eligible for medical and dental insurance, a 401k plan, two weeks vacation, twelve paid holidays and sick leave.
    The Executive Director reports to the President of the Board of Directors. It is an exempt position, which generally requires a minimum of 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week and may include weekend, night and holiday work. There is no minimum period of employment guaranteed or implied by acceptance of an employment offer. It is the policy of NHS that employment for this position is at will, which means that employment is for no specified term and the employee or the agency may terminate that employment at any time without cause. No job description can cover all facets of operations or the demands of the position. This is merely a guide. If you have any questions or concerns, please bring them to our attention.

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