LETTER: Former Burien Mayor: ‘No Animal Control and No Caring Either!’
Several days ago I called the Animal Control number for the City of Burien about a stray cat, with no collar, that has been living in our neighborhood for weeks. It was thin and devouring birds for food. I checked with all neighbors and no one claimed the cat so I called the animal control number to inquire about what I could do about it. After a day, they returned my call and said someone would contact me and bring me a cage to catch the cat. Several days later, Ray Helms, the new animal control person, did call and delivered me a cage and told me when I got the cat, call and someone would pick it up. He showed me how to work the cage.
Monday, April 2nd, I finally caught the cat in the cage. I ran into the house and called Animal Control. No answer, as always, but voice mail only. They are closed on Mondays and of course on Saturdays and Sundays too. I now have a frantic cat, meowing and howling and scratching the cage to get out. I felt it was inhumane to keep it in a cage until the next day. I would be happy to deliver it to a facility so it could be cared for, but where??? I could not feed the cat or give it water because it would escape. This was urgent. I called City Hall, explaining my concerns. They said to call Debra George and they would provide me the number. While I waited for the call, I went out to move the cage and the cat had escaped. The cage spring lock failed and the cat got out.
Ray called and said that was the only cage they had and he would come and pick it up. He hoped he could repair it. He wondered about getting a new one. He said he would let me know.
Three days and no service. The only answer from the animal control voice mail is………”If this is an emergency, call 911.” Clearly this was not an emergency. Clearly however, it was a case where service was necessary and important. Neither were available. Treating animals humanely should be part of the mission of the Cares organization. Quite often being responsive and available is urgently important to achieve that goal.
Two members of the Burien City Council have requested that the Animal Control policies be reviewed and updates about money expended be fully reported to the City Council. To date, the rest of the council members have not voted to support a discussion. According to the city manager, the Cares organization is fine. All is well.
Stand by for the next installment…
-Sally A. Nelson
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