Debra George Part Of Group Expected To Operate Burien Animal Control
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 J. SNYDER, SR.
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.
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.