Panel Says King County Animal Shelters “Deplorable”


Acting manager Al Dams of King County Animal Services (in Washington state) was on the defensive in the wake of a scathing report submitted recently by a citizens advisory committee describing the conditions at their two animal shelters as “deplorable”. They point to unsanitary conditions that result in high disease rates, undersized cages and inadequate attention paid to exercising the animals and providing them with social contact.

The committee report proposed more than three dozen changes to the county’s Animal Services program. They describe the county’s animal care as “well beneath the standards that should be expected in a prosperous, compassionate and generous community.” Recommendations for immediate action included renovation of the facilities, hiring additional staff and an overhaul of shelter policies. The two shelters take in more than 12,000 dogs and cats annually.

The committee reserved their most damning observations for the shelters themselves. An open sewer drain that runs through several dog pens at the Kent facility, exposing the animals to diseases such as parvo and upper respiratory infections. The report also cited 135 animals that went missing in the past year through bad paperwork, theft and unknown factors. Most troubling of all was the revelation that cages face the euthanization table, meaning that the captive animals can see the procedure being performed.

Dams conceded that the shelters were in need of renovations, but disagreed with the committee’s characterization of the facilities as deplorable. He pointed out that euthanizations were being performed less often than in the past. Thirty-eight percent of the animals committed to the shelters last year were euthanized. Dams stated that the animals destroyed were all unadoptable because they were either sick or vicious. In 1990, animal services euthanized 81% of the animals that it took in.

In May of this year, the King County Council passed an ordinance to reduce the number of euthanized animals to 20 percent by the end of 2008, and to 15 percent by the end of 2009.

Spokeswoman Carolyn Duncan said the county recently added a “pet of the week” link to feature adoptable animals on the county’s home page and claimed that they were reaching out to people as they had never done before.

Source: Seattle Times

13 Responses to “Panel Says King County Animal Shelters “Deplorable””

  1. nora says:

    WHY WHY WHY would cages of these poor animals face the Euthanization table! It is bad enough that it has to happen at all. I understand if an animal is really dangerous or fatally ill or injured, but the poor fur babies that have to watch …it is unforgivable and the poor animals stress factors must be horrendous. Heartbreaking.

  2. catmom5 says:

    Pet of the week is going to solve these problems? I don’t think so. There’s no reason for these conditions to exist in this day and age. What a terrible, stressful environment for these poor animals who are already homeless. Good for the panel ~ hope they keep pushing for a true humane shelter. There should be a separate euthanasia room PERIOD!

  3. Jenny Bark says:

    I am glad the media is reporting this & the county is doing oversight. I really like they want to give free or low cost spray/nueuter to pet owners & open up records to the public.

    Now it is time for the taxpayers & registered voters to stand up & keep the pressure on.

    If you want to know what all is going on read the 2 related letters detailing animal shelter issues listed in the above Seattle Times link. It is really ugly what is going on in some shelters.

  4. KarlaSanDiego says:

    Actually…I’m really getting tired of reading about how negligent shelters are. Obviously there’s little supervision going on and no standards to which they must follow to remain in business. No one’s watching. From so called accidental euthanizing of a claimed pet, to throwing dead animals in trash bags in the back dumpster, to filty small, and diseased cages, etc.

  5. Lioness says:

    How the “H” do you LOSE 135 animals? That is unacceptable!

    My county had a bad shelter too, and a citizen’s group took them on. From what I understand, there have been improvements, but I have not really tracked it. I should…

    I guess no news is good news–my county has a very vocal anima-people population–we don’t let things slide here.

    ~The Lioness

  6. mr_ed says:

    King County, King County … hmmm … Texas? Australia? Odd that the itchmo writeup doesn’t mention which King County.

  7. Amanda says:

    I am guessing they are talking about King County in Washington state since they mention “Kent facility” which would mean Kent, WA.

  8. Jenny Bark says:

    I think they are talking about Seattle. Read the related letters detailing animal shelter issues on link above with the article. The second letter will get you really sick & mad. The person running the shelter gets $90 some a year. Cats kept outside no matter the weather. Sick healthy & mean animals kept together. People can not give them toys, blankets or clean up after them, etc,etc & etc. It is really sick & sad. Ac picks up in truck without cages, heat or air.

  9. Donna says:

    This situation exists in in MANY shelters. Shelters are not as lilly white as they would like the public to believe. If you think, they are in the best interest of pets……………………you have been decieved. Get in volved………get in deep and make a difference. Any time a profit can be turned………………..lives will be lost. Seen horrors of shelters, can not accept the blind leading the greedy at the expense of innocent animals suffering. Do not take pets to shelters. MANY use shelter as a front for animal control. The control means the amount of animals they destroy.Seen too much to hold respect for shelters…………….they need to clean up their acts.Public scrunity………………….NEEDED now !

  10. king county animal shelter says:

    […] defensive in the wake of a scathing report submitted recently by a citizens advisory committee … “SHELTER EMERGENCY–Chattooga County, GA” at Dog Rescue Forum Forum… who may be able to help. […]

  11. Dog lover says:

    This is not over. My daughters dog was euthanized within 36 hours of being left at Kent- a puppy he was, and not vicious at all. The staff lied and tried to cover up what they’d done.
    THIS IS NOT OVER!! Something MUST be done about this shelter or more citizens (voters) will get involved.

  12. Kisa Sohma says:

    I know, people are going to swallow anything so that they don’t look bad, the governments don’t want to get involved. That’s because they don’t want to “waste” money on unimportant things, when they could be spending it on a pointless war. The shelter in my county went no kill, but they won’t take in feral cats or dogs. And how do you lose 135 animals?

  13. Kisa Sohma says: here’s the link, go there

E-mail It