LETTER: Concerns that Burien had Pierce County Humane Society evaluate CARES
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]
It’s concerning that Burien asked the Pierce County Humane Society, one of the highest kill shelters in the state, to evaluate CARES. The PCHS routinely kills cats under 2 pounds and fudge their kill rate numbers. For example: 1 = 1 Litter. Ms. McVicker recommends a Barn Cat Program for CARES, but this is something Pierce County or Tacoma do not have, so how is she an expert on this? And, how can CARES even begin a Barn Cat Program, when half of Burien’s pet population – namely, cats – are not covered under their contract with the city? The only cats that appear for adoption are Owner Released. There are no ferals or friendly strays. You have turned a blind eye to these creatures and put the burden of tending to them on volunteers – citizens of Burien.
Puget Sound Working Cats, where I volunteer, took 5 years from initial discussions with King County to institute a BCP. With proven pilot programs and a number of county inspections, they were finally able to adopt this strategy regarding ferals. It took from 2003 until 2008 before it started looking like it would be a consistent and repeatable program. Now, a decade later, it can almost be called full-fledged. Does Burien have the luxury of helping our feline friends 10 years from now? Burien needs to step-up now to become a Partnering Organization with King County and work with them on a Barn Cat Program. Fragmentation sets us back a decade. It’s a monumental challenge to put together an experienced, dedicated team of volunteers.
By leaving King County Animal Control, Burien did not dig deeply enough to know exactly what they were getting for their animal control dollar. CARES is missing out on King County’s volunteer network of over 250 dedicated animal lovers and several Partnering Organizations, like Puget Sound Working Cats, Feral Cat Assistance & Trapping, South County Cats, Pasado’s Safe Haven and others.
Volunteers are the life-blood of any animal care and control agency. How many CARES workers are willing to get paid minimum wage to get up at 3am to set traps during the winter solstice when cats start breeding? How many would be willing to run cats all over Western WA for free or low-cost spay & neuter services? How many want to gain Vet Tech training to be able to successfully assess, treat or immediately disposition of a cat in crisis, any time of the day or night? How many would be willing to help humans recover from devastating animal outcomes? How many would be willing to net cats in a hoarding situation, compromising their own health for the cause?
At present, CARES’ cost model and lack of experience will not be able to fund a Barn Cat Program.
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