LETTER: Visitor to Burien CARES Animal Shelter was ‘Pretty Much Appalled’

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following Letter is taken from page 9 of this week’s Burien City Council packet, which is part of the public record:]

I recently visited with the Burien CARES Animal Shelter at 909 SW 151st Street and was pretty much appalled. On May 19, 2012 around 1200 hrs, myself and another family member went to check out the newest animal shelter in the area since we would be dealing with them in the near future once the North Annexation goes through or sooner since I live only 2 blocks from the current city limits. Although the sign on the door read “out catching animals, be back shortly” the door was unlocked so we entered to find 2 staff members sitting at the reception desk.

What was most upsetting were the conditions. There were feces on the floor about 10 feet from where we were standing. The smell of urine was pretty strong. When asked what animals they had for adoption in house, they showed me a cat confined to a small crate, stashed away in a corner next to two other cats in crates on hold. I thought that those animals should probably be separated if they were quarantined to ensure they didn’t have disease. This area is under construction and filled with debris. Although no one was working on the area at the time, I didn’t know where they would move them to if they were. The construction area appeared to be cases built to display animals. But I don’t think it would be safe for ANY animal to go into one of those cases. They consisted of PVC piping, plexi-glass, press board, and what I guess was plastic netting. I only wish I would have taken a photo to submit with this complain, it was disturbing and I couldn’t tell how that would safely confine an animal, nor be able to be properly cleaned since it was absorbent press board in the base of the case.

When asked to see if they had any dogs, the staff pulled out a poster board with some dog photos on them for adoption. None were currently being housed at that location. There were, however, 3 dogs on site confined to another area made of half-walls of drywall about 3-1/2 feet high and generic doors used in homes cut in half. Again I was concerned how they could possibly maintain a clean environment for their animals since drywall is also absorbent and the doors were a simple door knob. Had they an aggressive animal in there, they could not safely house them in anything other than a confined crate.

I cut my visit short and left. Contemplating the fate of my own animals were they ever to end up on an unfortunate visit there, I felt I had no choice but to notify the Burien City Council of my findings. I do hope this is temporary, but the unfinished display cases and dog runs appear to be a permanent solution that I could not understand. I have year of experience caring for large amounts of animals at licensed facilities and I have never seen one in such poor shape. I hope that you can take this complaint seriously and re-evaluate your program before forcing people to use it.

Thank you,
Jennifer C. Clayton
White Center, WA

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