Two years ago, King County in partnership with 26 cities and an energized corps of volunteers took a struggling animal care and control system and turned it around into a regional system that has earned respect across the nation. The success of this new model, dubbed Regional Animal Services of King County, or RASKC, depends in large part on having partner cities contract with King County to provide this vital service, and the time has come for renewal of those agreements with partner cities.
Sensing opportunity, some private organizations have launched efforts to persuade our partner cities to sever their ties to RASKC. One such group posted a notice on its Facebook page today, urging its members to lobby the Bellevue City Council.
What’s not noted in these appeals is the fact that departing cities would still need to build costly new systems for animal control operations and pet licensing, as none of the private proposals provides for these critical services, above and beyond shelter care. Residents need to understand that departing cities would have to incur start-up costs and new overhead for control and licensing that will duplicate the infrastructure already in place with the regional system. In essence, the public will be paying twice for the same set of comprehensive services.
It’s disappointing that some would seek to so openly undermine the public’s negotiations with these cities. This should not be a case of “us versus them.” We all share the same values of helping animals in King County. As other large jurisdictions around the country have proven, it’s ALL of us, working together, with RASKC acting as the hub for the region, that provides the best model for quality, affordable, humane animal care.
RASKC operates the only public, open-admission shelter serving the residents of our 26 partner cities and unincorporated King County. We provide a comprehensive program that includes sheltering, animal control field service, and licensing for all types of domestic animals. We want to work with private organizations as valuable partners in providing humane animal care, with the understanding that the private groups are not established to serve all communities within King County or provide the full range of services noted above.
With its regional focus, partnerships with specialized animal welfare organizations, and more than 500 committed and trained volunteers, it is RASKC that has the resources and ability to deal with a wide range of animal care situations:
- When nearly 60 Chihuahuas with rotting teeth and bad hearts were suffering on the Eastside, it was Regional Animal Services that rescued them.
- When 73 cats and a dog were found living in filthy conditions with a hoarder in a camper, it was Regional Animal Services that rescued them.
- When anguished owners searched for their animals, spooked by 4th of July fireworks, it was Regional Animal Services that provided expert free advice to help families find their lost animals.
- When livestock are found abandoned and starving in a field, it is Regional Animal Services that answers the call.
- When exotic animals like alligators, snakes, and others are let loose by irresponsible owners, people turn to Regional Animal Services.
With its own track record, and new leadership taking the helm this summer, we believe RASKC has proven its value to the people and animals of King County, and look forward to making that case with the cities.