LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Where is Burien’s Animal Control?’

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Where is Burien’s Animal Control?

When a citizen tries to stop by Burien’s Animal Control, the door is locked and no one is allowed in. The story is that it is still not ready.

CARES, the Burien animal control model, has been in operation since July, 2011 (9 months) but there is still no place that animal control is open to the public. Prior to CARES, the city ran an unsuccessful animal control program because the City Manager/Mike Martin decided that the City could not afford King County Animal Control. This is not a factual report of what really happened with KCAC. Mike Martin actually left the meeting with King County before the rate scale that cities would be charged was even determined. This information comes from a reliable inside source that was present at that meeting. Mike Martin simply wanted to make up his own rate-nothing based on what was humane, research based and responsible animal control.

Currently, CARES appears to have no animals in it for adoption, etc. It does not appear to want to take care of anything other than dogs. Cats and other domestic pets are generally not welcome. The rabbit that has been very seriously abused appears to be missing.

When citizens ask how the new pet care business and the still empty CARES site had gotten their zoning permits, the City Manager is unwilling to provide any answers. Clearly this appears to be cronyism for an ex-Burien City employee/ now animal control officer and a member of Discover Burien. No other business in the City of Burien could have gotten this kind of zoning code deal.

Even stranger, is that after some members of the CARES Board resigned and had provided testimony to the Burien City Council that CARES was out of compliance with its contract, the Council refused to look into the situation or challenge the contract. The City Council has refused to allow this topic to be put on the agenda or to even request a report on animal control. So what is going on here? How many and what kind of pets are really being served here at citizen expense? Are they being humanely treated? What does the budget really look like? Where are the adoption, education and neuter/spay programs? How many animals have been killed in the Burien program? Under King County the kill rate is 14%. Where are the trained professionals that Burien citizens were promised? Where are the trained animal control experts on the CARES Board that were promised when the contract was discussed before the Burien City Council?

If the City Council is unwilling to do its job to provide responsible animal control, it might be the time for citizens to speak with their purchasing habits-money talks. Stop supporting the merchants who are on the Board of CARES (2) until a complete and through accounting of what is going on there is made public. Also, let’s have a factual presentation about the CARES services, not cutie stories by Ray Helms about how he took care of his sister’s pets when they were kids and he now claims to be an expert on animal control-a job that people formally train many years for. How is the citizen-provided $120,000 per year really being used by CARES for quality animal control?

R. DeLorm

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12 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Where is Burien’s Animal Control?’”
  1. Lynnette says:

    Good letter! Good questions! I have written extensively on this matter in the past, so I think I won’t say anything this time — you have all already heard from me. I will be content to saying, “AMEN!!” to this letter. It echoes things I have known and thought for a long time.

  2. NameNotImportant says:

    they must have their doors open somewhere. They are constantly “finding” and “rehoming” pets per their Facebook page. Which brings up another question, according to the city of Burien, how long are they supposed to wait for the public to claim their pet that may have been lost and owner was out of town? I understand that space is limited however I’ve seen them rehoming animals as quickly as they find them. Are they spaying/neutering and vaccinating prior to adoptions?? Are animals evaluated for behavior issues and are there adoption applications??? No one is ever in their office so its impossible to get answers.

    • Lynnette says:

      Those are very good questions also, Name. Up until our recent experiment in do it yourself animal control, the city of Burien has officially abided by the same animal laws as King County. Since Burien contracted with CARES and the lady in charge of CARES’ clerical work hi-jacked the organization by filing the necessary state registration paperwork with HER name as “director”, there have been several notable departures from King County animal law. It has made me wonder if they are simply making up rules as they go along. As far as spay/neuter and vaccinations, CARES (unlike the Regional Animal Services of King County shelter) has no veterinary. Supposedly a veterinary is working in conjunction with CARES, but my own vet was completely disgusted recently by the way the CARES “director” sometimes trick or treats around area vet clinics to try to get vet care for animals they have picked up. (If your beloved pet is ever lost and injured, do you want him or her at the mercy of this kind of hit or miss “rescue” work?) Are animals evaluated for behavior issues? I don’t work for CARES, so I am not there when they bring animals in, but I will add a question of my own — Who would do that? The experienced officers at the RASKC shelter who do temperament testing have many, many years of companion animal experience in addition to basic temperament testing training. A few years ago, several of the officers used their vacation time and their own money to attend a temperament training workshop to expand their knowledge. The CARES “director” and the sole field officer have no training for animal control work beyond a quickie course at a local school for potential animal control officers. Keep this in mind if you think of adopting a dog from CARES — who knows if that dog has fear issues, aggression issues, food guarding tendencies, a strong prey drive to attack smaller animals, or whatever. IF you adopt from CARES, I would suggest immediately taking the animal to your vet to check for undetected illnesses that could be passed on to any other animals you have at home.

  3. Char says:

    The ongoing problem of inadequate animal control services; will it never end? Perhaps Mr. Martin is simply not capable of resolving this issue. Maybe, now that the city is so large, he is busy doing more important things, like not overseeing cost overruns on road improvements. Maybe it’s time to look for a new City Manager who can multi-task.

  4. Askedsomanytimes says:

    There has been repeated complaints and or requests for information in regards to CARES. I do believe there is cronyism going on with the City of Burien. When is someone really going to step up and tell the truth!

  5. William Forest says:

    Daniel Boone.. Bone.. whatever, its a made up name..
    Typical troll.. Attack and distract from the real subject at hand.
    I don’t find your comment funny either.. its not even relevant to the topic under discussion.
    Its vitriolic comments like yours that incite racism… where otherwise it would not exist.

  6. NameNotImportant says:

    Well Farmers Market Season is coming up… surely Burien CARES will be too busy with that as well instead of tending to those animals in need. There are way too many mixed signals with them, i dont believe they are taking proper precautions with their adoption process, they have poor communication skills with their community and in the end, the animals are the ones that suffer. When KCAC was involved, they had a process and while they were spread thin, they followed the same process time after time. Burien could learn. thing or two by following others’ examples. cant begin to even count how many times ive taken animals home or tried to find an owner on top of my full time job and tending to my own personal chores and not gotten compensated for it. Oh and who are Burien citizens supposed to contact in case of an emergency after business hours and/or on their days off? i vote to bring Officer Pam back to Burien because she was consistent and always seemed to care about the issue at hand.

  7. chiefire says:

    Very Interesting Comments, however I have watched several people who take care of these animals while a home is looked for, these caretaker people love animals have several of their own and support these animals while they get well, paying for their food and medications. then they cry when the animal does find a good caring home. These are good people, if you want the doors open at CARES why do you not go and help get the building ready? I have been there at least 20 times in the last two months and some one has always been there. They are closed on Mondays and when I stopped by Debra George still answered the door, as she was taking care of a dog who was about to have babies, and answered my questions.
    A lot of backseat driver’s as my Grandma would say, maybe everything is not right but this is a new venture, have you got experience? Maybe you should just help by
    volunteering your time and maybe a bag of cat food or dog food?
    Just saying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. NameNotImportant says:

    problem with trying to volunteer your time is, again, no one ever answers their phone. Every time i’ve every stopped by (on different random days minus the day they are closed) is there’s always a sign up saying no one is in the office.
    And because you have animals of your own, that in no way qualifies you to be running a “shelter” and/or “rescue” organization. I have put a lot of hours (and $$$) into rescue and fostering for various groups and shelters and have donated food directly to Burien. Fact is they still tend to do nothing. Where were they a few weeks back when a chihuahua and his buddy were darting out into busy roads??? Oh yeah… out of the office! Not even a phone call back from them. Situations where they are needed to arise on their day(s) off and even that is a challenge. Burien CARES tells you to contact the police if its after hours and the police tell you to contact Burien CARES… REALLY?!!! C’mon. There needs to be a better solution. You can’t turn animals over to veterinary hospitals in the area because they can’t take them in.
    They can’t agree on anything even amongst themselves. Not sure if any of this will get resolved and our pets suffer. Remember that these are the people trying to keep YOUR pets too safe and/or cared for not just strays.

  9. Sick&Tired says:

    That’s it! Let’s all go there and demand answers and demand to see where these animals are being held!!!

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