LETTER: ‘CARES is NOT a Viable Option for Animal Control in Burien’

Print This Post  Email This Post

Dear B-Town Blog –

I just received this information:

Apparently CARES is NOT a viable option for animal control in Burien. At the Burien City Council meeting of June 18, 2012,Burien citizens and the Council members were told that everything was going just great with CARES/Burien’s Animal Control contractor. In April, 2012, CARES had been inspected by the Public Health Department and had been cited for a number of things that kept them from passing the inspection for an animal shelter. Again on June 19, 2012, CARES was inspected by the The King County Health Department and again it did not meet standards to be permitted as an animal shelter. Mike Martin/Burien City Manager was aware of this. Why did he not make a public announcement??

It is strange that the public was given a report that everything was going fine when Mr. Martin knew it was not?

In spite of these finding from the Public Health Department, CARES had animals on site, available to be adopted out and sent to be fostered in people’s private homes. This put people as well as their current pets at risk for disease and infection. Currently, CARES is closed and there is no sign explaining why it has to close. It is closed by requirement of King County Public Health. Being open without a permit and sending out animals from a non-permitted shelter is a breach of the public trust by both CARES and Mike Martin. If the City council members knew about this situation also and did not inform the public, shame on them also. What exactly are the Burien citizens paying for and isn’t it time Burien went back to contracting with the King County Animal Shelter?

– John Poitras

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our 50,000+ Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]

Print This Post  Email This Post


19 Responses to “LETTER: ‘CARES is NOT a Viable Option for Animal Control in Burien’”
  1. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    John – I hope you are sending this letter to the city council for CORRESPONDENCE FOR THE RECORD. Thank you!

  2. Skeptical says:

    Mr. Poitras, you said that CARES failed an inspection in April. How did you know that? Is it information that anyone could look up online? I searched for it and could not find it.

  3. jimmy says:

    mr.poitras i know there alot not so good things going around burien but there also a lot good things to why is it you have to complain about everything you say you for making burien better but all people see is the bad stuff you post i mean come on can’t kind find somthing good to post not to point you out i know there are other on here that do it to

    • John Poitras says:

      Jimmy… So your attitude is whatever is rotten in Burien we should just pretend that there is no smell? When I see something wrong then I think it is important people know about it so it can be fixed. . Do you have something to say about the current animal control/shelter situation in Burien or are you just willing to turn a blind eye to what I have been complaining about for months . For anyone that cares about animals I think that we need to FIX the problem NOT IGNORE IT!

      Feel free to post anything you like about all the wonderful things going on in Burien I am sure that folks would love to hear about it IN ANOTHER THREAD> However THIS THREAD is about the current intolerable animal care situation in Burien.

  4. Feralcat says:

    Yes you can get a copy of the report, It is called the public disclosure act.

    NOW where should I start: DUH, I told you so, did not take a brain surgeon to know you can NOT make particle board water resistant and wire that what puppy/kitten mills use.

    That is what they were using to house cats. Any shelter/rescue should know that you can not seal it at all, as soon as a cat scratches on it, the “sealant” doesn’t work.

    I got copy of the regulations, and knew right away this was not going to work.

    The worst part of this, $120,000.wasted, down the tube and all the volunteers hours and stuff that was donated, wasted too.

    Worse yet Burien has NO animal control AT ALL. It is peak kitten season, both Seattle animal control and KCAC won’t take animals from Burien and Human society is full, as are most of the other “no kill” shelters. Then what of the dogs.


  5. Wulfie says:

    Again, I have to agree with the fact that CARES is worthless.

    2 weeks ago the dog next door attacked a woman and her dog who was walking on the sidewalk. This happened on Saturday night. CARES is closed Sunday and Monday.

    It was Tuesday before anything was done about it and from what I can tell, that was NOTHING as far as we can tell. I got a case number and a phone call but as far as I can tell, that is it! The owner’s know that she will attack other dogs and don’t seem to care and were letting her run loose in the yard at the time.

    The dog next door was obviously injured when the owner tackled her in the street and started punching her. She has been limping on 3 legs for two weeks and sits there are barks for hours. Now I know why CARES(less) has not responded to any of the calls about it.

  6. Feralcat says:

    Wufflle that is horrible..

    Sadly it will only get worse, we can not go back to KCAC with out paying what I call a “balloon” payment, that just seems to be the easiest word to come to mind

    So we are like Des Moise they have no animal control either. They have an animal control officer on the police force, but basically she does nothing other than tell people the laws. They don’t come get animals, they don’t do anything.

    There is no easy answer but is very apparent that was NOT the answer.

    John is right, cares has to have know what was going on and totally lied at the last council meeting.

  7. William Forest says:

    I noticed that it has been noted in other threads and the Highline Times that Seatac was able to negotiate a subsidy from King County animal control services. In fact apparently all the city has to pay is $107,000 a year for a first class program from King County.

    Why is Mr Martin asleep at the switch on this? Why can’t he negotiate a similar deal with King County? Maybe he doesn’t have the time or resources to clean up the animal control mess here in Burien because he is devoting so much time to pushing the annexation of Area Y?
    It could also be his heavy handed management style is not conducive to negotiating with other agencies and organizations that are not under his thumb?
    EIther way to my mind the guy is not doing his job and frankly imo I think he could care less about animal control here in Burien because he has demonstrated time and time again that he is deaf to the complaints of the residents that do.

    • Mud Baby says:

      Mr Martin asleep at the switch on this because he DOES NOT CARE about animals, or about being accountable to the public. He runs the City of Burien like a fiefdom, not like an open, transparent public agency.

      important to examine what went wrong. I recommend that everyone who is concerned about this situation file a public disclosure request in order to investigate “CARES.” Here is guidance on how to do this:


      This current Health Department mandated closure is just the latest chapter in a failed program that neither helps homeless animals or keeps people safe. In future elections I hope voters will remember who voted to implement this publicly funded fiasco.

  8. Ed Dacy says:

    I was present at the presentation from King County. The did not offer first class service to Burien. They would respond to vicous animal complaints and my memory no more than 4 hours a week in Burien. in fact I think it might have been 8 hours a month.

    The best solution is when this service comes up for bid again is for another group to put together a bid. Of course if King county presents a good bid, I am sure the City would accept it.

    • William Forest says:

      I attended the presentation that King County Animal Control gave to NHUAC and they stated that animal control officers of which they have 7 would respond 6 days a week 8 hours a day. They also had an emergency number that could be used on Sundays.
      In addition to the superb facilities they offer they also have a full time animal cruelty investigator. They will respond not only to dangerous animal complaints but also issue citations for excessive barking although they will attempt to resolve it with the owner first.

      Ed are you familiar with the DEAL that Seatac agreed to a couple of weeks ago? They NEGOTIATED a subsidy with King County that gives them full service for $107,000 a year. This is for PROFESSIONAL Staff that know what they are doing unlike Burien Cares.
      They also did this outside of the consortium.
      I don’t know how versed you are in business Ed but if you want a good deal you don’t wait around for a bid you initiate your own. Also you don’t sit back and don’t get back to the bidder when a bid is tendered you lie Martin did in Burien you NEGOTIATE! I thought thats part of the job we are paying Mr Martin to do. I guess he never got the memo?

      • Vicki Hurley says:

        Mr. Forest has covered the most important issues that are key to an effective animal control in Burien. I would like to add a little information to his excellent post for those who are primarily concerned with the safety and welfare of homeless animals. At the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) shelter in the Kent Valley, there are TWO veterinaries and a vet tech available to give immediate care to injured animals that are brought to the shelter. The vet tech has won awards and honors for her work in fostering and saving baby animals too young to be on their own, but nevertheless dumped, motherless at the shelter. In addition to that, PIMA Medical Institute (which trains veterinary assistants) holds classes ON THE SHELTER GROUNDS. They have a great deal of expensive medical equipment like x-ray machines that the shelter veterinaries are allowed to use. Most shelters would be unable to afford things like that, but we are blessed to have them at the RASKC — or, we WOULD be blessed if we had a contract with RASKC. That is all in stark contrast to CARES which allegedly has animals “looked at by a vet”. Which vet? Is there a vet consistently affiliated with this “shelter”? Is he or she available around the clock like the RASKC vets? Does the vet just “look” or does he or she do more than that? How much more?
        Another wonderful feature of RASKC is officers with MUCH experience in animal behavior. EVERY dog that comes into RASKC is temperament tested before it is offered for adoption. That means, dogs are exposed to things they would encounter in a new home. For example, one part of the test is to give the dog a dish of something yummy and then pull it away (like a small child might ). Does the dog accept this or does he defend his food with violence? Isn’t that something you would want to know before you brought home a new dog that would be interacting with your children? What happens if the dog fails his temperament test and cannot be placed in the “adoptable dogs” area? Then compassionate RASKC officers get on their phones and computers and find a private rescue that will take the dog and work with him to solve his behavior problems so he CAN be adopted. There are breed specific rescues for Australian shepherds, border collies, Labrador retrievers, cattle dogs, and many, many others. There are also private rescues like NOAH that will take dogs with mild behavior problems and find a way for them to be safely rehomed. RASKC officers not only know about these outfits, but they have good, working relationships with them.
        Often people adopt animals in a moment of emotion — and then realize they goofed. At RASKC, someone counsels prospective adopters regarding what they can expect from the animal they are about to take home. That minimizes bad surprises and protects animals from the trauma of being returned to the shelter after they become attached to a new home.
        While dogs and cats are in the RASKC shelter waiting to find new, forever homes, their needs for play and human interaction are attended to by an army of WELL TRAINED volunteers. People who exercise dogs at the RASKC shelter have been trained in proper dog handling by a respected local dog trainer who gives her time to the shelter pro-bono. This is important so that well-meaning volunteers don’t accidentally teach a dog bad habits that will ruin his chances of success in a new home.
        In addition, the RASKC offers free public service programs. For those who are coping with the loss of a beloved animal, there is a free pet loss support group. RASKC also has a program in conjunction with the nationally known Missing Pet Partnership. MPP is a group dedicated to finding lost pets. Through their program at RASKC, they teach others their innovative techniques for finding and reuniting lost animals with their owners.
        Last, but surely not least, I have spent considerable time at the RASKC shelter and I can tell you that there is a pervading atmosphere of happiness and goodwill there that can only be beneficial for animals and humans alike. I encourage anyone with a strong interest in this matter to go down to the RASKC shelter and ask for a look around — and see what Burien COULD have.

  9. Lindsay says:

    On the 4th, my family found a little dog scared and on the run in our neighborhood. We got it contained in a little dog crate (we were scared it would run into the road and get hit) and then we called Burien CARES. There was no answer so I left a message. Three days later they called and asked if the problem had been resolved. Fortunately, it had–we were able to make up some quick fliers and post them around the neighborhood. The dog’s owners saw the fliers and came to get her.

    I was astonished that CARES would be closed on the 4th–which anyone who knows animals knows is the worst day of the year for pets. I thought one of the reasons why they were specifically designed not to be part of the City Departments was so they could stay open on holidays. Of course, maybe they were closed because of this Health Code issue. That would explain a lot. My mother went to the facility a few weeks ago and was absolutely appalled at the conditions she found; cats in little crates, feces and urine on the floor, and also nowhere outside for the dogs to go and get exercise. Certainly a poorly chosen location for an animal shelter.

    However the problem now is that we are apparently without animal control. This is an issue the City must take care of immediately.

  10. Fred says:

    Brian Bennett/mayor ran for election to the Council by saying he was an animal rights activist. Brian, get off of you rear, grow a backbone and do something about this situation. Hold Mike Martin accountable for this mess he made. Don’t keep letting Joan McG. snooker you (as you said at the Council meeting)by letting Mr. Martin ride rough shod over the city, citizens and animals. This situation can be corrected. Burien has spent at least $100,000 in staff, outside contracts and fees to put annexation on the ballot. Mr. Martin finds money for the things he wants.He could find money for animal control.

  11. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Mr. Martini does what Mr. Martini wants. Annastasia and Drucella will do what he says. It’s a Mickey Mouse operation all around.

  12. French Cat says:

    The fear of finding an animal in need is a very real one. What would or could I do???? There is not place to take them, and if there is, or was, or will be, then what??? No one seems to care or know what happens to these animals. It sickens me. We need an animal control program desperately. Why is the City Council ignoring this growing problem???? Face the music Burien, and get back with King County. If the City desires to have their own animal care facility,they need to actually develop a valid plan before just feeling their way around… It is a huge undertaking and doing it half-assed is not what our animal population needs or deserves. Why Mike Martin has not been replaced is a travesty,

  13. Feralcat says:

    To everyone,

    I have put up the the king county health report on my face book page.

    feral cat assistance and trapping FB. you don’t have to “like” but i felt I should make is easier for everyone to see what the violations were and see if they can pass on July 16

    Yes is it legal as it is public knowledge/disclosure.



Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!