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Kent, other cities, move to new animal-control program through King County

King County Animal Shelter Volunteer Derek Yoshinaka rewards two shelter dogs during a training and walk session at the King County Animal Control and Care shelter Wednesday in Kent. - Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter
King County Animal Shelter Volunteer Derek Yoshinaka rewards two shelter dogs during a training and walk session at the King County Animal Control and Care shelter Wednesday in Kent.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

On July 1, residents in unincorporated King County and 27 contracting cities will have a new Regional Animal Services model to handle animal control, sheltering and licensing services.

Under the new model, King County will be divided into four animal control districts, each staffed by at least one animal control officer, and cities will enjoy significant economies of scale. The County’s Kent Shelter will remain open, having absorbed animals and staff from the closure of a smaller facility at Crossroads in June. The change will provide increased staff attention to animals at the Kent Animal Shelter. The county projects that the Kent Animal Shelter, staff and volunteers will serve about 8,000 homeless and lost animals in 2010.

The cost for pet licenses for spayed animals will remain unchanged at $30, and will be reduced to $60 for an unaltered pet (previously $90). The new model changes King County Code to institute a no-tolerance fine for unlicensed pets in the county, with fines ranging from $125 for a spayed or neutered pet to $250 for an unaltered pet.

As part of the transition to the new model, residents will have a 90-day amnesty period from July 1 to Oct. 1 to purchase a license for unlicensed pets without facing a fine. Residents can purchase pet licenses in person at more than 100 locations in King County, including many QFC grocery stores, as well as online.

Visit www.kingcounty.gov/pets for a list of sales locations or to purchase or renew a license online.

Under the new Regional Animal Services model, there are a number of discounts for disabled and senior residents, as well as for those with juvenile pets up to 6 months old. All dogs and cats over 8 weeks of age in unincorporated King County and contracting cities must be licensed.

Services residents can expect from the program include:

• The first time their pet is found, King County will attempt to skip the shelter and deliver the pet to their home.

• Licensed pets have a longer stray hold at the shelter to give residents a chance to locate a lost pet before it is made available for adoption.

• The Vacation Pet Alert Program allows residents to provide contact information for a pet’s caretaker while they are away so that King County will have the correct contact information if something happens while the owner cannot be reached.

• Pet-license fees fund programs focused on finding homes for stray animals, and to pay for services such as spay/neuter programs.

• Licensed missing pets are found faster by reporting them to Regional Animal Services. If a resident finds a stray pet wearing a pet license, they can call the phone number on the license to get contact information for the owner at any time, including after-business hours.

Under the new model, effective July 1, the name “King County Animal Care and Control” changed to “Regional Animal Services of King County” and signs at the shelter will reflect the change.

King County will provide animal control, animal shelter, and pet licensing services to all of unincorporated King County and the following cities:

Kent, Auburn, Enumclaw, North Bend Beaux Arts, Issaquah, Redmond, Bellevue, Sammamish, Black Diamond, Kenmore, SeaTac, Bothell, Kirkland, Shoreline, Carnation, Lake Forest Park, Snoqualmie, Clyde Hill, Maple Valley, Tukwila, Covington, Mercer Island, Woodinville, Duvall, Newcastle, Yarrow Point.

With the exception of Bothell, which has contracted for six months, participating cities have signed a contract that will be in effect for two and a half years.

For more information, visit ww.kingcounty.gov/pets.

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