Issaquah could decide to join regional animal-control plan Monday

June 6, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. June 6, 2010

Issaquah and 26 other King County cities intend to join in a regional plan for animal care, control and licensing, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced last week.

The executive sent a package of proposed reforms to the King County Council to remake the county’s troubled animal-control agency. Constantine proposed code changes to restructure license fees and smooth the way for partnerships between the county government and private organizations to care for stray animals and license pets.

“With this new regional model, the county and cities can provide better public health and safety, animal welfare and customer service, at a lower cost than cities could provide on their own,” he said in a news release. “At the same time we will continue to work on reforms that earn the respect of the community and lead to innovative partnerships that will reduce future costs.”

Constantine also requested $3.2 million to implement the model by the end of the year, backed by $2.5 million from licensing fees and other revenue.

If most of the 34 cities contracted with King County for animal-control services sign updated contracts and, if the County Council approves, the regional system would be put into place July 1. By June 30, city councils in Issaquah and other municipalities must approve interlocal agreements lasting two and a half years.

In Issaquah, the City Council will consider the contract Monday. The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The full County Council will hold public hearings on the proposal June 14 and 21. Members could act on the plan June 21.

The proposal aims to create incentives to promote pet licensing. The plan seeks to establish a no-tolerance policy for licensing enforcement. Revenue from pet license fees and related fines defrays about 60 percent of the cost of the regional service model.

King County Animal Care and Control handles responses to complaints about vicious animals, animal-cruelty investigations and pickups of stray animals. The agency responded to 194 calls in Issaquah and 225 calls in Sammamish throughout 2008, county figures show.

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