LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Animal Control Group Doesn’t Have Expertise
This entire year and at least half of last year, the citizens of Burien were repeatedly told that Burien is in good financial condition. We were told that the city has an excess of $1 million dollars but the city does not have enough money to run a humane animal control program.
We have continued to run two city halls for Burien which is certainly one more than this city needs. However, we have been told that there is not a sufficient amount of money to run a quality animal control program. Something about these stories appears to be in conflict.
Below are the stats on the Burien Model of Animal Control and the stats on King County Animal Control:
There is clearly something wrong with the Burien model. Burien is killing far too many animals. The current animal control officer-she has resigned-has told the city that she has both professional and ethical problems with the program she has to run and this in part is due to insufficient funding. 49% of the cats that were brought into the Burien Animal Control either were killed by the city or died in their care in 2010. Somehow in Burien’s stats, they lost close to 50 animals that cannot be accounted for in a 6 month period-so it is unclear what happened to those animals.
The new contract is being issued for even less money than the current contract. It is true that the current city manager is a short term resident of this city and obviously does not have the same values and expectations for animal control that the longer term Burien residents have. However, killing 37% to 39% of a group of animals that come under the city’s care is unacceptable for most of the cities in King County and their citizens.
While Debra George and company may be nice folks, they do not have the expertise to run animal control and they need to stop trying to bail out the city manager –for the lousy model he has funded and set up. CARES (Debra and company) will be doing no one or any animals a favor if they set up a shoestring operation that can fall apart at any given moment. They do not even have a permanent sheltering area in the city and the budget looks like they will be begging for food, medicines and services to care for the animals. Shame on this city.
The amount of money needed to run Animal Control needs to be accurately analyzed and then that amount of money needs to be put into the contract or Burien needs to go back to King County Animal Control. For 2010, King County Animal Control only destroyed/ killed 16.5% of the animals (all determined to be unadoptable) that came into their care. They run a spay/neuter program, adoption program, out-reach program and are committed to killing as few animals as is possible. Burien only appears to be committed to a dollar figure made up by the city manager.
The annual amount of money for this Animal Control Contract is less that the city manger’s salary per year. He is suggesting that hundreds of animals can be housed, fed and medically treated for less money than he requires/needs to live on per month and per year. The current contract and program the city manager is proposing is down right stingy, cheap and unrealistic and animals are dying because of it. We have proof of that already. Burien needs a quality animal control program and the City Council has a responsibility to see that there in one operating for the animals in Burien. Animal Control will be the topic of the next City Council meeting-Monday.
– John Poitras, Linda Cutkomp and Nona Deyman
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