Regional animal control contract earns King County Council approval

July 10, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 4 p.m. July 10, 2012

King County officials endorsed the animal control contract between the county, Issaquah and 24 other cities Monday.

In a unanimous decision, King County Council members adopted the interlocal agreement to provide provides field officers, shelter services and licensing services. The pact amounts to about $60,000 per year for Issaquah.

“This model partnership between the county and municipalities will bring consistent, cost-effective and compassionate solutions to our animal control challenges,” council Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a statement.

The agreement also required approval from leaders in 25 suburban cities. Issaquah City Council members OK’d the pact June 18.

The county animal services agency, Regional Animal Services of King County, changed the formula for how cities pay for the agency. Under the old agreement, cities paid equal amounts based on population and the number of calls, but the updated agreement eschewed the 50-50 agreement for a method based more on number of calls in a particular city.

“By beginning to establish a greater correlation between cost and use of services, this interlocal agreement is a step forward in encouraging local jurisdictions to increase their rates of licensing their animals,” Councilwoman Julia Patterson said in a statement. “This will continue King County’s progress in protecting people and animals.”

The former King County Animal Care and Control changed into Regional Animal Services of King County after a troubled, unprofitable era in animal services.

Problems at King County Animal Care and Control — in leadership, organization and operations — led to public outcry and legal challenges, prompting the King County Council to direct County Executive Dow Constantine to make changes in late 2009.

In 2010, 27 cities contracted King County to provide animal services. In the most recent renewal period, Auburn did not renew the county contract, and instead embarked on a municipal animal control program.

“The continuation of this partnership between King County and the cities shows the strength of regional cooperation,” Councilman Bob Ferguson said in a statement. “Providing animal control and shelter services is an important government function, and it makes sense for the county and the cities to work together.”

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