Burien Council wants public’s view on keeping CARES as animal control agency


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by Jack Mayne

With the animal control contract with nonprofit CARES coming to an end this summer, the Burien City Council was told Monday night (Feb. 1) that it may be asked to extend the contract through next January to allow consideration of a possibility of returning to Regional Animal Services of King County.

The Council also heard again from a resident who feels his attempts to open a small piano bar in conjunction with a restaurant is being blocked by the Burien parking ordinance.

CARES vs. RASKC
With the contract with local animal control agency CARES, which stands for Community Animal Resource and Education Society, ending on Aug. 31, the city staff is preparing to seek bids for a new contract.

But because of the length of time for the request for proposals is a lengthy one, the city staff may seek an extension of the contract until Jan. 31, 2017.

The Burien staff would seek bids from contractors by this April, present them to the Council for a decision by May and select a vendor by June, said City Manager Kamuron Gurol, and have a contract ready to take effect next January, the same month the current CARES agreement would end if Council extended it beyond the end of August.

The potential contract overlap would allow time for Regional Animal Services of King County, or RASKC, if it were selected by the Council, to get ready to take over animal control, he said.

If CARES was reselected, then it would be a simple matter to again extend its contract, Gurol told the Council

Councilmember Debi Wagner suggested that CARES provide a breakdown of their services for comparison with King County Animal Control and to collect community feedback on citizen comments on how CARES provides its services. Councilmember Steve Armstrong suggested gathering information on the costs of veterinarian services that CARES contracts out.

Gurol said he heard Council interest in other cities views on their contracts with King County animal control and would return with more information and proposals in May or June.

Piano bar blocked by parking ordinance?
Burien resident John White again complained to the Council about the affects of the city’s parking ordinance.

“I wouldn’t be here talking about parking if I lived in Seattle or any other city,” White said. “But, in this city, we have this parking issue called ‘the fee in lieu of.’”

The ordinance provides that businesses have parking to support their customers or reach an agreement with other property owners to use their parking. White refers to the third option the city allows: pay a set fee the city as the “in lieu of” option.

White said he is trying to expand a restaurant by adding a piano bar into a storage area and he says the city calls that a change of business and that makes the change subject to the city’s parking ordinance, which requires a fee of $120,000 for “in lieu of” parking stalls.

He appealed the fee but while they were doing that, the fee went up from $7,000 a stall to nearly $10,000 a stall so “we are talking about $40,000 to open a piano bar.”

White said that no businesses have ever paid for parking stalls “or been able to use this (ordinance) – not one.”

“I plead for you guys to change this ordinance,” White said.

The city manager said this was being considered in a review of the downtown “mobility study” which could make recommendations for changes in the zoning code, which would be needed to meet White’s request. Changes to the code would take several months to take effect.

Gurol said White has proposed an exemption to the code for “businesses of a certain size,” something that the Council could decide to do.

“What I cannot do is to invent a solution” for White’s problem of either providing the parking on site, through a shared agreement or paying the city fee, Gurol added.

Councilmember Nancy Tosta wondered, “How do we do what we can to welcome” small businesses to come into and be successful in Burien.

Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said the matter will be discussed at the March 28 study session on economic development.

Gang unit needed
Resident Patty Janssen said people in the city are concerned about public safety.

“We’ve had several violent criminal activities that have happened in the last month – three of them involving shootings,” she said. “I learned last week that the (police) gang unit has been disbanded here in the city. We’re not out of the woods yet as far as gang activity is concerned.”

Janssen said the unit included a “crime detective” who “did a lot of great work.’

The longer there is no gang unit, “the worse it is going to get,” she said and urged the Council to get the unit “back up and active.”

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Comments

18 Responses to “Burien Council wants public’s view on keeping CARES as animal control agency”
  1. Question Authority says:

    I love CARES and so does my cat who was adopted from there.

  2. Tom Taaffe says:

    Cares is doing a great job. They are a close to home agency, responsive and as their name suggests … caring. Let’s keep them on the job. Tom

  3. Bab says:

    I went to the empty bowls on Friday night (loved it) and the CARES van was parked in the No Parking Fire Lane. When I left more than a hour later it was still parked there and it was more than a foot from the curb. Do the CARES vehicles not have to abide by the same road/driving rules? (please do not read anything snarky in this question.)

    • TbC says:

      Dogcatcher Roy has always been special.

    • Bean says:

      Please keep CARES! They are part of what is good about Burien. A large part. They respond quickly, and do really care. Giving it over to the county would be a big mistake. The people at CARES do a wonderful job. And they are a no kill shelter. I think they have done a wonderful job, thanks Burien CARES!

      • john says:

        Can you confirm the no kill shelter claim?

        • Laura Helms says:

          “No Kill” essentially means that no adoptable animals will be euthanized for space, that is, current shelter animals will not be killed to make space for new incoming ones. Burien CARES shelter is no-kill by that criteria. Sometimes animals are euthanized for medical or aggression reasons, but their euthanasia rates are lower than average, and their “return to owner” rates are higher. CARES provides that data to the city regularly.

        • Marianne says:

          There is no such thing as “no kill.” When a shelter or rescue turns away an animal because they don’t have space (or the owner can’t afford a surrender fee), that animal is at risk of being killed elsewhere.

  4. concerned says:

    Animal Control is not Cares. Do whatever it takes to get RASKC back!!!

  5. Julie says:

    I have called cares about 3-4 times and their response time is ridiculously slow if at all. And have received no feedback on any one situation. I think we need to go back to King County Animal Control.

  6. animal says:

    Any other “Professional” animal control company would be better than CARES.

  7. John White says:

    It is in the best interest of this city to allow others to bid on these contracts. Debra has controlled CARES and also has the main contract for all the events for Discover Burien. These two contracts, one directly with the city and one through Discover Burien have not been subject to open bid for years.

    It is in the best interest of all parties, including Debra George, to allow others to bid for this work. Time after time we hear: “well we had to extend it because we did not have time to prepare it for bid”…………………as Bernie Sanders would say: enough is enough.

    Debra does a great job. In my opinion she is not paid enough. How do we really know this until other parties put out a bid. Some might think I am taking a shot at Debra but the contrary is true. She does all this work for not very much money.

    I hope CARES and Discover Burien’s event contract are put out to open bid.

    I studied this while I was President of Discover Burien. At that time the contracts had not even been signed. There was zero oversight. I saw the tremendous work Debra did, and continues to do for very little money. I heard complaints too. Some believe someone else could do better for less money. I disagree……..but we will never find out if these contracts continue to be extended without giving others a chance of bid.

    John L. White

  8. Jimmy says:

    I remember a lot people around here don’t like change. So when you change something like animal control some people just don’t care and will dislike the new version no matter what. I seen cares having a lot of up’s and downs over the years. You got consider taking care of animals is hard enough but to start a animal control service has got be difficult. I know I have contracted cares 3 times over lose dogs chasing are cats. They got to bottom of things and fix the problem. When reporting something to them to make sure you give the most honest and actuate information. Also be calm and polite these people deal animals wild/domestic all day just like the police if you give them a attitude they might give you a attitude right back that could make thing worst for you.

  9. Joey Hopps says:

    I have been noticing lately that CARES is starting to resemble a rescue group instead of an animal control. My example is the fundraising they were trying to do on their Facebook page to acquire funds for surgery for an animal they had in their shelter. I think CARES should focus on animal control & adoption, and let the current rescue groups in Burien focus on fundraising for rescue animals. If they are short on funds to do their job, then we need to allocate more funds, or pay someone else that already has the means.

    I have had several personal encounters with CARES, and have been please 100% of the time.

  10. Barb says:

    Any animal that is surrendered to Cares goes up for adoption, but if a dog or cat needs medical attention, like Callie the golden retriever. What is so wrong about Cares fundraising to save her life so she will be adoptable? Any rescue would have to do the same thing.The money comes from those who care about animals lives and no funds come or are taken
    from the cities budget.
    Cares is doing a wonderful job taking care of homeless dogs and cats in this area. They are loved by all the volunteers and employees that work there. I hope the city continues their contract with them.

  11. Claire Drahn says:

    Cares is awesome. These people truly do care for these animals, & do their best to find them forever homes. I adored a dog that I dearly love from there. Cares saw to it that, she was spayed, got shots, flea control, & loving attention while she was in their care. All for a fair price. Unfortunately, there are people who are not responsible pet owners, who abandon pets, without blinking an eye. They are doing a good service to this area, & for the welfare of animals.Keep Cares in Burien, please!!

  12. Karen Falk says:

    I have adopted two dogs from CARES. They have always gone the extra mile to ensure the adoptions went smoothly and even agreed to hold one of the dogs for almost a month while we built a fence on our property . When I spotted a small dog running loose on 1st Ave, they were quick to respond and safely capture him . I appreciate the fact that they are local. King County is just too big and impersonal.

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