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LETTER: ‘I can see that I am not the first person disgusted with C.A.R.E.S.’

I can see that I am not the first person disgusted with C.A.R.E.S, the apparent City sanctioned animal control and rescue group for Burien. Perhaps as more of us come forward, something will be done about them. Here is my story.

On Wednesday, January 16, I was driving away from a business near the Seahurst Post Office and saw a small Corgi type dog running frantically back and forth across 152nd in traffic. I pulled over and enlisted the help of two nice young students from St. Francis to catch the little guy. He had no tags and no one in the immediate area, including another car that stopped to help, knew where he belonged. I brought him straight to Burien Vet Hospital to have him scanned for a microchip but he didn’t have one. Brought him home, put a “found” ad on Craig’s list and called C.A.R.E.S. to report a found dog. Then I put the dog back in my car, drove back to Seahurst and discovered from the barista at Beans that there were people in two cars looking for the dog. I spent more than an hour cruising the neighborhood, leaving my contact info with all the really nice pedestrians in that area and trying to find the cars that were supposed to be out looking for the dog. (Thank you to the Barista and all those nice neighbors for promising to help me connect with the dog’s owner). When I got home, there was a message on my phone from the owner and I called him right away to come get his dog. There were, however, FOUR other messages on my machine from C.A.R.E.S., each more belligerent and accusing than the last, about how I was stealing someone else’s dog, that I had no right to keep him, etc, etc. I just erased the messages and went to wait for the owner to show up. THEN the C.A.R.E.S. person calls AGAIN and tells me I can’t steal this guy’s dog and that she is going to get the police involved. I think the C.A.R.E.S. person’s name was Amanda. Well, Amanda, I have news for you. People who want to keep stray dogs don’t usually advertise the fact that they have the dog or spend hours trying to find the owner. And this particular finder of a lost dog does not appreciate being threatened with the police and being yelled at on the phone in her own home. On top of that, the owner was not at all friendly when I opened the door to him, no doubt primed for a fight by Amanda. So the dog is home with his owners who never even said thank you and, as of this morning (Friday, January 18) I’ve had two more phone calls from C.A.R.E.S. trying justify what happened on Wednesday night.

My advice to anyone in the Burien area who rescues a stray cat or dog is to take it directly to the SPCA or to PAWS or some other reputable agency and let the owner do all the foot work to track it down. Skip C.A.R.E.S. Like you need someone to make you feel bad about rescuing a dog. And to those pet owners who might accidentally lose their pets, even temporarily, put tags on your animal and get it chipped. Then none of us will have to deal with C.A.R.E.S. (who doesn’t care).

– Cory Volkert

UPDATE: We reached out to Debra George, Executive Director of C.A.R.E.S., and here’s her response to this letter:

The first phone call we received on this was at 4.15 from Burien Vet. asking if anyone had called looking for a missing Corky. At 4:24 Cory called to say she was the one who had found a Corky and left her phone number. Cory at that time indicated she wanted to try and find the owner of the dog herself. At 4:48 the owner of the dog contacted CARES looking for his dog. We took his phone number then called CORY to see if it was ok that we gave out her number, which she agreed. The owner of the dog made several attempts calling Cory and she did not answer the phone. The owner called CARES also at 4:51, 5:04. 5:08. 5:21. 5:51 and at 6:03. The owner got agitated as he wanted to get his dog back. The police was brought up at the request of the owner of the dog as he felt he was not getting his calls answered in a timely fashion from Cory. The CARES employee got caught in the middle trying to make a connection between an upset owner and a resident who chose to go on her own to locate the owner. These situations can be avoided by simply bringing the animal to the shelter to be re-united with their owners in an efficient and timely manner.

We are thankful that in the end it all worked out and everyone made it home safely.

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