King County receives $75,000 grant to improve animal services

  • Wednesday, June 28, 2017 4:02pm
  • News
King County receives $75,000 grant to improve animal services

King County Executive Dow Constantine – who delivered on a promise to transform the county’s once-struggling animal service agency – announced new actions that will connect even more cats and dogs with families.

The stellar reputation that Regional Animal Services of King County has earned in recent years helped it win a $75,000 grant from Petco Foundation that will create more spacious living quarters for cats at the Kent animal shelter and better address the needs of dogs that have behavioral issues.

“Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, King County has set a new national standard for effective, compassionate animal care,” said Constantine in a Wednesday media release. “Our commitment to continuous improvement is now helping unite even more cats and dogs with their forever families, delivering on our promise to improve the quality of all people, and all creatures great and small, in King County.”

King County once considered disbanding its animal services division after years of poor performance. Constantine vowed to fundamentally reshape the agency by empowering employees, creating community partnerships, and applying Lean principles. Today, nearly 9 out of 10 cats and dogs that arrive at one of King County’s adoption centers are either safely returned home or adopted by a new family.

Now, Regional Animal Services of King County, or RASKC, is taking action to help the remaining 10 percent of cats and dogs that need a home.

The agency will use the Petco Foundation grant to bring in a behaviorist and dog trainers who specialize in companion animals to help the staff and volunteers better identify and address behavioral issues. It will also replace traditional cat kennels at its Kent facility with more spacious condo-style structures, similar to the ones that improved the adoption rate at the Eastside facility in Kirkland.

RASKC employees and volunteers are building on the progress they have made in recent years.

They hosted a fundraiser to create a more inviting space at the Kent adoption facility where people can now interact with cats in a less stressful, more natural environment. Knowing that happy, healthier pets are more likely to be adopted, the staff applied Lean principles to streamline health services, significantly reducing the number of cats who have an upper respiratory infection.

The agency has also embraced what the national Humane Society refers to as “Adopters Welcome,” an approach that removes well-meaning but unnecessary barriers between pets and families. For example, residents no longer need to fill out an adoption application before playing with a cat or dog, and are now permitted to adopt a pet as a gift for a friend or family member.

RASKC will provide animal services to 24 cities under a new five-year agreement, which will be automatically extended in five years, providing stability for animal care in King County for the next decade. Kent is one of the contract cities.

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King County receives $75,000 grant to improve animal services

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