Burien CARES Animal Control Approved for Tax-Exempt Status

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Burien CARES Animal Control announced Wednesday (Sept. 12) that it received official notice from the IRS on Monday (Sept. 10) that its application for 501(c)(3) status was approved, retroactive to May 1, 2011, when the animal control organization began operations.

This 501(c)(3) status “allows past and future donors to CARES to deduct their contributions from their federal income tax,” according to an announcement. The designation also provides more opportunities for CARES to apply for and obtain government grants. Further, CARES is now exempt from paying sales tax on its purchases of pet food and other supplies.

Here’s the text of that letter, as released by CARES Director Debra George (download a PDF of it here):

Dear Applicant,

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 of 2522 of the Code. Because this letter could help resolve any questions regarding your exempt status, you should keep it in your permanent records.

Organizations exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Code are further classified as either public charities or private foundations. We determined that you are a public charity under the Code section(s) listed in the heading of this letter.

Please see enclosed Publication 4221-PC, compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities, for some helpful information about your responsibilities as an exempt organization.

HoIIy O. Paz
Director, Exempt Organizations Rullngs and Agreements

CARES director Debra George said she was elated after receiving the letter from the IRS.

“This is an important document for us,” she said. “It allows us to continue to move forward in a positive direction.”

George also reported that CARES’ first annual “Wags to Riches” rummage sale held last Saturday (Sept. 8) was a tremendous success.

“We want to thank the Burien community and volunteers for all their efforts and donations for our fundraiser, which raised $2,000,” she said. “We are looking forward to our next fundraising event in the first quarter of next year.”

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23 Responses to “Burien CARES Animal Control Approved for Tax-Exempt Status”
  1. Upset says:

    I don’t see why they are 501 (c) classified they don’t do anything to help the community. They say they do but if you call for help they say they don’t have room or don’t have time to help. So why help those that are not willing to help.

  2. Joe Wills says:

    This doesn’t change anything! Yes I am negative. Why because all this does is give Debra George more reason to justify an organization that shouldn’t exist. So they raised 2000 dollars she says. I drove by and didn’t really see anyone there! So where did the 2000 thousand dollars come from, most important, what is going to happen to this money. CARES has been taking donations since the beginning, where has ALL this money gone? Ask for financials? You get nothing. Burien citizen WE need to know where our tax dollars are going.

    • Laura Stiles says:


      You did a “drive by” and concluded that nobody was there? Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually park and enter the building? (Have you ever actually visited the shelter?) Were you doing your “drive by” on a day that the shelter was open? They are closed on Sunday and Monday.

      As for where the $2,000 came from, it was clearly stated above that it was the proceeds from the rummage sale held last Saturday. My understanding is that it will be used to pay vet bills.

      • Joe Wills says:

        Dear Laura,
        I have been inside the CARES office; I went with my wife to look for a cat. (Not easy for me since I use a walker) It was terrible; the smell was sickening, we both left in disgust, wondering why in the hell! Does our city let this place exist??

        • Laura Stiles says:

          Dear Joe,

          I’m sorry to hear that you and your wife felt that you had a bad experience when you visited the shelter. I hope you will stop in and check it out again. Possibly your visit was some time ago, when the shelter wasn’t actually completed? I drop in about once a week and it has always been neat, clean, and with no noticeable smell. The health department requires a substantial ventilation system, among other things, to keep the environment healthy for the animals and visitors alike.


      • Mike says:

        Closed Sunday and Monday? KCAC open seven days a week. Just another good reason to keep burien out of Area Y. One of the many. Vote NO on annexation!

        Area Y Mike

        • Jerry James says:

          Wow, Mike You went straight from CARES being closed on Sunday and Monday to vote no on annexation. Sounds a little crazy to me. Just sayin.

        • Laura Stiles says:


          If you check around, I think you will find that it is common for smaller shelters to be closed for business on Sunday and Monday. Of course, the shelter animals are being cared for every day, and the animal control officer is on-call for emergencies 24/7. The benefits of having our own shelter include the fact that it is located right in downtown Burien, instead of Kent or Bellevue, and the officer is dedicated full-time to our city. Personally, I like the idea of having all support services close by and easily accessible. But, to each his own…

      • Upset says:

        Why the vet bills. The last crew that handles Burien annimal rescue was a vet and didn’t have to pay for that, just the meds.

  3. Feralcat says:

    Well it is about damn time.

    Now here are some ways to SAVE money on vet costs:

    Now that cares is a 501 3 c, you can order combo test(for cats, hope you know that) FELV/FIV., about $15.00 per test, LEARN to draw your own blood and run the tests yourself. cares would save over 30.00 per test,.

    You can order your own vaccines and do that yourself. You can also treat for worms on your own too.

    You would need to order syringes, needles ect. All this can be done threw Revival animal.

    Oh of course you would need to know what a round worm is. Do you know what a tapeworm is and how you get tapeworm? You can even get the meds to treat that at Petco.


  4. huh? says:

    To CARES: Congratulations on receiving your 501 (c)3. It’s unfortunate that people posted falsehoods about your application process.

    I do not support Burien having their own animal control/shelter and think going back to RAS of KC is the best for the animals and the citizens of Burien. There is so much that the CARES staff and volunteers do not know about managing individual and herd health; spreading formites; ISO and quarantine; behavior solutions; diagnosing a sick animal; temperament testing; field work; dangerous vs. scared animals and more. [And yes, I have been to the shelter. And, yes, I have witnessed some of these deficiencies.]

    This is not a personal slam on any of the CARES folks. Your hearts are in the right place. To be successful in animal care and control, you need far more than just a good, caring heart. Perhaps someday (when we are back at RAS—fingers crossed), CARES can still exist, becoming more of a specialty rescue group as they gain more knowledge and experience.

    Wow Feralcat. All you can say is ‘Well it is about damn time” and [sarcasm] about worms”? No apology for your nasty, accusatory, vicious, redundant posts about how CARES was committing fraud and lying?

    Apologize publically…just as you falsely accused publically.

    (With your consistent negative tone and past attacks, do you really think CARES wants to hear any suggestions from you? Would you listen to someone that continually attacked you?)

    • Mike says:

      Re: huh?

      Well said. The citizens and their pets of burien and Area Y deserve to have animal control that does everything that KCAC does. CARES apparently has a contract that doesn’t cover alot of the things we already get from paying our taxes in area y. I can only try to inform all my neighbors of the down side for our animals if we are subjected to less than what we’ve come to expect.

      AreaY Mike

      • Cuppa Joe says:

        Dear huh?
        What is a falsehood about CARES telling the public that they were a 501(c)3 organization when they weren’t? By their own admission, they didn’t even apply until May of this year, well after they claimed that they already were. To me, that indeed was a lie. What would you call it? You seem to have a personal beef with feralcat (speaking of redundant posts), but she’s not the one spending Burien’s tax money. Personally? I’m much more concerned with what else CARES isn’t being truthful about.

        • Flashdog says:

          So true, Cuppa Joe. Ever since CARES opened in June of 2011, their website has plainly stated that they ARE a 501c3. It didn’t say “CARES has APPLIED to become a 501c3”, it has always said that CARES IS a 501c3. So, for more than a year, they were making that claim when they knew perfectly well they were not a 501c3 at all. I hope everyone who reads this blog thinks deeply about that. What ELSE is CARES telling us that isn’t true?

          The one that gives me nightmares is their claim that they are affiliated with a veterinary. Really? Which one? What kind of affiliated? Like a working relationship or the vet puts up with CARES dropping in from time to time with animals in need of help? What if the vet is busy caring for an emergency situation for a paying client? Then what? When we had actual animal control from RASKC, if an animal was picked up injured, it immediately went to one of the two vets who work at the shelter. If your dog or mine gets loose and gets hit by a car and is picked up by CARES is there the slightest scrap of hope for him? Here’s an interesting question: Does either Debra George or Ray Helms (who, the last I heard, had no training for this job) have any idea how to safely move an injured dog without causing further injury? Think about this as if your dog’s life depends on the answer — because someday it might.

  5. catsupport says:

    huh? -vs- feralcat: CARES opened for business 2 years ago w/o a health permit and claiming to be a 501c3. They were ‘shut down’ by the health department until they met the requirements, and apparently had not filed their 501c3 application ’til early 2012.

    The simple fact is CARES repeatedly failed to provide what is REQUIRED by federal law: to make public for ANYONE who requests it a copy of their application, letter of acceptance, and taxes. In spite of requests from several residents (self included, which is why I requested it of the IRS) NONE of that has been provided by CARES until this post. So yes, it appeared that they were fraudulent in their claims because of THEIR refusal to to provide evidence they filed for 501c3 status.

    The letter I received from the IRS dated Aug 15, 2012 clearly stated “this organization has not filed an application and has not been recognized as a tax-exempt organization.” Only this week did I receive a call for the IRS (apparently another division) to inform me that CARES 501c3 status had been approved. So why should anyone have to apologize? CARES should have just sent anyone who asked – or posted – their letter of application and none of this would have been an issue. Again, this is something REQUIRED and penalties can be imposed for failure to comply.

    Until CARES meets Federal REQUIREMENTS they will continue to come under public scrutiny. In fact, now that they are a 501c3 they will really be under public scrutiny – it is not unusual for 501c3 status to be revoked. If CARES continues to fail to meet Federal requirements…time will tell.

    There is STILL a question as to where monies have gone as CARES STILL refuses to meet Federal REQUIREMENTS to make this information public. Until they comply and simply answer the questions/concerns of the citizens forthrightly then they can continue to expect criticism and a vote of no-confidence from the public.

    The fact that even YOU see the failings of this attempt, it surprises me that you would expect anyone to apologize for their criticism of CARES. Fercat is only one voice of MANY that have spoken out against CARES, and can anyone blame her?! Who do you think is getting the calls at 6am from panicked residents? Her comments speak loudly her passion and concern for those without a voice – the animals that CARES is incapable of helping because they simply do not know what they’re doing as you yourself have clearly stated.

    Perhaps the fact that even CARES refers people to FCAT is reason enough that they should welcome her suggestions ( http://www.burienwa.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1840 ). They obviously recognize she knows what she’s doing. Maybe they should consider paying her for the work she does for them just as they’re willing to pay vets for work they should be able to do …

  6. Joe Wills says:

    I have performed my own background check on the people at CARES. I can tell you either Ray or Debra have any real experience in what they are doing/ Ray did take a couple of classes I was told, but that only makes him dangerous, (some knowledge, but NO experience) Our Animals are at great risk as long as this group is around. I have spoken to many neighbors near me who greatly wish the city would get a clue and go back to KCAC. The last story I read about CARES in the Burien News letter stated that they only required to hold animals for 72 hours, Cares takes them to a local Vet who puts them down. We all know it sometimes takes more than this time to find a lost pet. God Help our pets if they ever get lost.

    • Laura Stiles says:


      What article in the “Burien Newsletter” are you refering to? Of course CARES does NOT just rush animals to the vet to be euthanized after the required waiting period. Why do you put crap like this in the blog? The law requires CARES and RASKC to hold pets for 72 hours so the owners can have time to claim them. After that, they adopt them out, assuming they are adoptable. If pet owners put license tags, ID tags, and/or microchips on their pets, the shelter should have no problem contacting the owners in time. You and your many neighbors have licensed all your pets, right Joe?

      • Laura Stiles says:


        I think I figured out the article you were referring to. In the Sept. issue of the Burien City News, there was an article about CARES opening their animal shelter. Underneath the article was “Frequently Asked Questions” which was copied from the City of Burien website, the Animal Control page (http://www.burienwa.gov/index.aspx?NID=884). Here is what it says about euthanasia:

        6. What is the City’s policy on euthanasia?

        Under its contract with the City, CARES must provide for the adoption, transfer or humane disposal of unclaimed animals after holding them for a minimum period as follows:
        * Licensed dog or cat – At least 120 hours (5 days) after telephone contact or for at least two weeks after posting of the notification of impoundment by regular mail.
        * Unlicensed animal: – 72 hours (3 days) from the time of impoundment.

        CARES’ policy is to euthanize only animals with severe medical conditions.

  7. huh? says:

    No personal beef with Feralcat…just find her posts very emotional, inflammatory and nasty. She made false accusations…a bigger person would apologize for constantly ‘yellilng’ fraud, lying, etc (yelling = all caps)

    Burien needs to go back to RAS of KC. Period. The folks at CARES do not have the experience and knowledge to run an animal shelter and control. They are in over their heads and don’t even recognize this fact.

    We citizens need to make this happen (i.e., return to RAS of KC). Unfortunately it will probably take a few very public tragedies and/or taking legal action against Mike Martin, the Council and possibly CARES.

  8. Feralcat says:


    cares WAS at the time BEFORE they actually became a 501 3 committing fraud that has been proven. Period. (as catsupport wrote)There is nothing to apologize for, I even went on public record because what I said AT the time was true and have the proof to prove it.

    Emotional HELL yes, animals as well as humans are at great risk. cares, even as you have stated really does not have a clue as to what they are doing.

    I even posted a link to were an animal control office is to take training. Sadly even i acknowledge that cares does not and NEVER will have the money to truly have a fully operation animal control.

    I will never apologize for being emotional about animals. I actually care and to be perfectly honest, I actually know what I am doing.


  9. jimmy says:

    if its king county or cares it doesent realy matter if you take care of your pets “making sure your fence doesn’t have holes or exscape roots you feed them love them” you most likely will never have any contact with ether king county or cares now cares is trying start a service that is hard to do if you ever had deal with even house pets it can be very diffcult at times or if you ever had help catch a neighbor pet that got out it it can be almost impossable i don’t get why people complain on here so much about small things I don’t get what the problem is i mean we pay some taxes to them we payed taxes to king county now we taxes to cares in 25+ years we only had used animal control maybe 4 times and we have had dogs cats goats ferrets tranualas and all sorts ramdom other little animals and fish thour out the years so if you think about it how many times have you had to get animal controls help and o yeah does someone have to complain about annexstaion in every story on here

  10. Joe Wills says:

    Jimmy Jimmy,

    You sound like the guy who says CANT WE JUST GET ALONG ?? Well NO we cannot when it comes to the welfare of our Animals. so get a clue! CARES needs to go and KCAC needs to come back so we can have a real Animal Control service. and YES the Annex is an issue, do you really think the poeple of white center want to subject thier animals to a group of idiots who have NO clue what they are doing ! Yes I am mad and I am MAD as HELL about what is happening to our city.

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