Since Federal Way began its own Animal Services Department in 2010, the city has partnered with the Humane Society of Tacoma/Pierce County for animal needs such as shelter, spay and neuter, and euthanasia.
Kathleen Olson, executive director for the Humane Society, gave a brief presentation to the Federal Way City Council on May 1, saying that the relationship has been beneficial for both entities and the animals involved.
"Our total intake in 2010 was 12,402 (animals) and that included Federal Way for half the year," Olson said. "For the six months in 2010 that we provided sheltering services for your city, 422 animals were received from Federal Way, of which 10 percent were surrendered by owners who were no longer able to keep them."
For the part of 2010 that the city partnered with the Humane Society, 135 animals were adopted out, 55 strays were reclaimed by their owners, and 159 had to be euthanized. Olson noted that of the 159 euthanized animals, 42 were healthy cats unable to find a home, and 14 were feral cats.
In 2011, the Humane Society took in 825 animals from Federal Way. 90 were reunited with their owners, and 66 animals were placed into foster homes. 32 healthy cats and 34 feral cats were euthanized in 2011, according to Olson.
In 2012, Federal Way residents have adopted 59 animals so far, Olson said.
Olson reviewed what the Human Society does for the municipalities it works with, running down the society's list of services.
"We hold strays for five days before they become available for adoption. They're listed on our website within two hours of check-in during regular business hours, and by 9:30 the next morning if they're brought in overnight," she said. "We quarantine for dog bites for 15 days for the City of Federal Way, and then after that time, if you need us to hold a dog for any other reason, you pay us an additional $10 per day for boarding. Citizens pay us a $15 impound fee for stray cats, $25 for a dog's first impound, $50 for the second."
Olson noted that Federal Way agreed that any dog impounded for a second time is automatically spayed/neutered, with the cost passed on to the owner. For any owner who has to reclaim a stray pet, a $12 fee is assessed for a vaccination series the society gives to the animals.
Surrender fees for owners run $67 for dogs and $57 for cats. Another service the Humane Society provides is a low-cost spay/neuter procedure for "free-roaming" cats. One issue that the Humane Society runs into is that it's more difficult to adopt out cats than dogs, but if that trend could be reversed, the Humane Society could lower its euthanasia rate to zero for cats.
"What we've discovered is people will drive hundreds of miles for a dog, but they won't drive three miles for a cat," she said. "If just one person in Federal Way a week adopted a cat, or didn't bring us a cat, we'd be at zero euthanasia for cats as well."
To find out more about the Tacoma-Pierce County Humane Society, visit www.thehumanesociety.org.