LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Animal Control Group Doesn’t Have Expertise


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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.

Best Regards,
– John Poitras, Linda Cutkomp and Nona Deyman

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Have an opinion on something? Please email us a “Letter to the Editor” by clicking here. Be sure to include your real name and a way to contact you, and, pending our review, we’ll most likely post it.]

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Comments

17 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Animal Control Group Doesn’t Have Expertise”
  1. feraldog says:

    Jeez, Here we go, let`s beat this horse some more…

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    • Jim Stewart says:

      I love animals as much as anyone….. However, if the new contract costs the city LESS and can control/neutralize the perceived high death rate, then why NOT turn it over to an outside company??? Burien’s financial status is sound due to this type of budgetary thinking!!! It appears that Burien can turn this situation over to an outside vendor and review it in a year and save some money. And as the editorial suggests, the situation cannot get any worse.

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  2. Bill C. says:

    Lets just let ALL the animals run free !! Since everyone is a critic, and the critics have no answer how to fix it !! So sad that everyone is so quick to judge a group of people that have a possible solution.. I can see that the city of Burien has droves of people lining up for this contract…. So lets just beat up anyone that even trys to come up with an idea… I am so proud to live with so many negitive people… B town blog editor must not like himself.. so he picks on grouops of people and the city he works in.. Real fine person.

    Oh well animals be free !!!

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    • Bill – As the Editor of The B-Town Blog, I need to clarify something – this was a Letter to the Editor written by three people other than myself. I merely provided the forum for them to share their views, as I do when I let people leave Comments. By no means does this Letter reflect my opinions, so for you to criticize me and tell me that I “pick on groups of people and the city I work in” is wrong. thanks, scott

  3. Rob says:

    You know it is easy to criticize when you are sitting in your easy chair. I say, that Debra George and Company should be given a chance. Then revisit the issue at a later date.

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  4. TcB says:

    I thought that the reason that Burien and all the other cities around here are not with King County is because King County got out of the animal control business.
    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/King-County-to-get-out-of-animal-control-business-893168.php
    Did this not happen? What are the facts? Let’s get the facts before we try to “go back” to something that may not be there.

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  5. Bill C. says:

    Hey Scott your right. Sorry! I miss read the blog, it was written by 3 people, addressed to the editor…. my neighbor has been driving me crazy about this issue, so I agreed to read the blogs.I jumped to fast… I did notice that many people in Burien are against WE the community even having an non-for profit Animal Control Service, then there are some who are for it. What are we supposed to do if we lose our pets, I know my wife and I would be lost without our two dogs, especially if there is no one to find them, (both are chipped and have tags) Is there anything you can do to help this situation ? The power of the pen can be pretty effective. Thank you. Bill

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  6. Thom Grey says:

    Duh dudes,
    Yep, King County does run an Animal Control Program for 27 cities and unincorporated King County-http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/regionalAnimalServices.aspx. Check it out. For Dude Feraldog- aren’t you the dude that told us on this blog last year that you just use your gun to take care of animal control( raccoons swimming in Arbor Lake) in your neck of town? So animal control for folks who think in those terms- it should only be just the cost of a bullet. Dude Jim, running two city halls and giving away pet licenses for free for two months last year does not seem to have been shrewd business sense on the part of the City of Burien. Duh, cities and counties sell pet licenses in order to make money to run animal control. So if Burien gives away the licenses and then it doesn’t have enough money for animal control-it’s a no brainer why they don’t have enough money. But they do have enough money cuz’ Mike Martin keeps asking for a raise. You might want to ask the city to see his salary and benefits package and watch when he is getting another raise. Then we have the city radio station that costs us thousands of dollars a year that broadcasts to almost no where and no one listens to it-another shrewd business investment. If Debra G. and CARES gets this contract, it is for 3years before it gets reviewed- you might want to go in and read the details of the contract.Hum-long contract for untrained beginners. Dude Bill, this dude-me- thinks that King County Animal control is a public non-profit-but check the site out. It looks like the 3 dudes writing this article aren’t against a non-profit animal control-they just want one that is run by professionals and is correctly funded. So do the animals in Burien-woof woof and meow meow.

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  7. Eaton B. Verz says:

    They can add my name to the bottom of that letter!! Already E-mailed the council! Like Bill c. said” The power of the pen can be pretty effective”, but the power of your vote is even more powerful! Remind the council of that fact! They need to admit it was a mistake to hire Mr.Martin, after Kent had enough, and replace him with someone who more relects the citizens of Burien. At least get someone who is a sober,clear thinker.

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  8. Bill C. says:

    Dear Duh dude,

    How do you know Mike Martin keeps asking for a raise? Do you know him personally? Maybe he isn’t the best for Burien, but he is who we have at this time, why not trying to work with him instead of against? Duh… We should all continue to vote for our city council members, AND attend meetings so we can see what is going on, not just criticize them. Continuing to call people beginners, is so not right, do you know them personally? I read their bios. They have Animal experience, not public Animal Control, but at least they have the smarts to seek out proper training and research from other organizations for information and help with setting this up. It has to start somewhere. I am not completely opposed to this non-profit idea; IT WOULD be much easier to accept the idea if the city would allocate more funds to help the cause, to make sure it has the funds to succeed. Training isn’t cheap; setting up a shelter, proper equipment isn’t either .I read that they will rely on donations, grants and volunteers from the community. Which is way more than the prior Animal Control did. This is not a one man/women job. It will take all to work, duh. Now I sound as bad as you duh…

    I personaly am writing OUR city council to (each member) to incourage them to rethink the budget for this, Allocate the REAL needed funds to make this work !!

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  9. Give them a chance says:

    To bring King County back would cost us the price of a police officer and only give us 8 hours a week of service.

    The proposal to go the way of Des Moines is another option, but turing it over to the police like Des Moines can cause problems – like Des Moines.

    It is a shame that King County decided to get out of the running full-time Animal Control, but that issuse should be brought up with the King County Council

    This is just the lastest thing King County has dumped on Cities. the last one was the restrictions on the use of king County jail by cities, that is why we needed to build a jail in Des Moines.

    This new group may not be an ideal solution, but lets give them a chance and attend fundraisers they will have and the people concerned shoul contirbute to this NON-Profit group when asked.

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    • Lynnette says:

      Thia “one officer for 8 hours a week” thing is complete mythology. Remember when King County Animal Care and Control handled all of Burien’s animal control? Regional Animal Services of King County IS KCACC, only without the King County council being allowed to make a crazy hash of everything. RASKC now answers primarily to the 27 cities who have joined it instead of to the county council. It is run like a co-op with each city paying into the agency according to the level of service that city wishes to receive. Under this new plan, Burien would receive MORE officer time than it had BEFORE under KCACC. PLUS, the deal includes an efficient, humane, well run shelter staffed by experienced shelter staff. That staff includes two veterinaries and a vet tech that has become legendary in this area for her amazing care of baby animals that are too young to be without their mothers. The shelter staff is backed up by more than 400 volunteers who exercise dogs, care for cats, and foster baby animals. Plus, the RASKC shelter has a working partnership with dozens of other local rescues to assist them in re-homing animals. The price that was quoted to Burien is NOT for “one officer for 8 hours a week” it is for AN ENTIRE AGENCY supplying 24 hour animal control and sheltering service.

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  10. Eaton B. Verz says:

    “This new group may not be an ideal solution, but lets give them a chance ..”

    Why can’t we have “The ideal solution?” The council does not hesitate to tax us for any project/service they deem necessary …..The vehicle tab tax….

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  11. Betty says:

    I will be at the city meeting tonight to see what happens, I am concerned becuase I have a small dog who could get lost if he got out. at 73 years old, I cant go out looking for my dog. A police officer 8 hours a week wouldnt find him. King County put us in this predicament, So its up to us to find a solution that hpoefully benifits all animals.

    None of these poeple have animal control exsperiance, but they sound like they have the best interest to start. I can make a donation to help, not alot, but soemthing and someone looking for our pets is better than what we have now.

    Thank you for reading my concerns

    Betty

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  12. kitty lover says:

    Loved the letter from the three people who actually seem to have a brain and thoughts that make so much sense. Please see that Mike Martin and the rest of the Burien City Council see this well informed article.
    Apparently there are lots of people who just do not give a care what really happens to animals as long as a group, who, agrees to do “God knows what with animals in need, for a set price…..”steps up!!! To them, problem solved, move on…
    I would like to see the powers that be, instead of throwing good money after bad, , fall back, regroup with King County, (a known entity that knows the ins and outs of animal control, granted not the optimum solution), but the best in the interest of animals at present, and stay with them until a workable plan is developed over time, that we can then transition into for the benefit of all animal groups. ‘Study before implementation’ would be so much more reasonable.
    How about the City looking into partnering with SeaTac, Tukwila, and Des Moines to develop a facility that would be one that would benefit all our animals in these areas. Is the City working on that by chance????

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  13. Sadtoliveinburien says:

    Yes King County did get out of the Animal Control business, That is why we are here at this cross road, The amount of money KC wants to contract for this service is about 300K from what I have read on the subject. So its understandable why our city is trying to fix this problem in house. It really sounds like no matter what the city or the CARES group does, both will be under fire from many. So I ask what can we do? hire in house and be happy we have an officer availble 8 hours a week based on the area coverage? I guess that’s a better plan than nothing. SO anyone who has a animal problem, don’t complain, you asked for it.

    If I was the group of people in CARES, I would run away, far away from all of this, Why would anyone want to subject themselves to a comunity that is so negative?? why put your name and business at risk?

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    • Lynnette says:

      It is completely incomprehensible that our city wants to continue to experiment. The supposed $300,000 could be largely covered by requiring all pet owners to license their pets. I say the “supposed” three hundred thousand because B-town Blog has consistently printed incorrect information on this issue — like the goofy “we would only get one officer for 8 hours a week” thing. I don’t know the exact price RASKC quoted to Burien, but it may NOT have been as high as $300,000. Even if it WAS $300,000, that is a worst case scenario price. Meanwhile, the cost of the Dr. Kasper experiment was $120,000 that is now GONE and achieved NOTHING. The CARES group is a gigantic improvement over poor Dr. Kasper, but what the city either doesn’t realize or isn’t telling you is that there will be LISTS of hidden costs. I am not saying the CARES people are not being honest, I am saying that all sorts of unforseen expenses will arise as they attempt to duplicate the level of service offered by RASKC. By the time this is all over, $300,000 may be a bargain price by comparison.

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