Action ratifies Councilmembers’ request that shelters be closed
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmembers Dow Constantine and Julia Patterson today commended County Executive Kurt Triplett for implementing their call to close King County’s troubled animal shelters.
Last October, Councilmembers Constantine, Patterson, and Reagan Dunn called for shelter operations to be taken over by an outside animal welfare group or groups. Executive Triplett’s budget proposals would get King County out of the shelter business, while commencing a regional discussion over the transfer of animal control’s enforcement and animal cruelty investigation functions to other agencies.
“Last year, we stated publicly that the King County Animal Shelter system was so broken that it could not be fixed and asked the Executive to consider a new system. I commend him for taking decisive action to implement our request,” said Council Chair Constantine. “King County has been failing in its obligation to provide humane care for the animals in our custody. This solution will shift sheltering services to a proven community provider.”
“I want to thank Kurt Triplett for heeding the call from the Legislative Branch to reform and improve shelter services as well as better protect people from dangerous animals,” said Councilmember Patterson.
After a September 2007 citizens committee report called shelter conditions “deplorable,” the Council took immediate action to implement the committee’s recommendations, to bring volunteer veterinarians into the shelters to improve animal care, and to increase shelter funding. Working with former Executive Ron Sims, the Council made a one-time allocation of almost $1 million to improve shelter conditions, hire new staff, bring in part-time veterinarians, and step up adoption and volunteer efforts. The Council also increased animal control funding in the 2009 budget, despite cuts to most other programs.
“We have fought hard to convince the Executive that our allegiance must be to public safety and to these vulnerable animals, not to a failed institution,” said Constantine.