‘A second chance:’ Tri-Cities Animal Shelter now at essential intake status after hitting full capacity

PASCO, Wash. — After months of uncertainty regarding the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter’s (TCAS) future, new leadership is facing yet another hurdle.

On Friday, Aug. 5, the City of Pasco officially transitioned to a full in-house operation system at the TCAS.

“Previously, the Shelter had been operated by the Benton Franklin County Humane Society as a third-party contractor,” a news release said.

Now, the shelter is at full capacity, meaning it is also hitting essential intake status.

According to a TCAS Facebook post, that status is described as:

…the shelter will limit the acceptance of animals to animal control/law enforcement assistance and specific animal cases until capacity warrants normal intake operations. During Essential Intake Status, the shelter will continue to accept:
• Animals that are sick or injured
• Animals with no viable option for shelter in the community
• Intake of animals that pose a threat to public safety
Animal Control will respond to calls during this time with the following priority:
• Cruelty and neglect
• Public safety calls including bite complaints, dangerous animals, and rabies concerns
• Law Enforcement assistance
• Animals in immediate danger”

Zach Ratkai, the administrative and community services director for the city of Pasco, said the goal is to “professionalize the shelter, establish new policies and practices,” and serve the animals’ needs.

“We’re at full capacity but we’re doing our best for the community,” Ratkai said. “There’s no room for large dogs, small dogs, cats.”

Ratkai said shelters “around the country and in Tri-Cities, eastern Washington, and the Pacific Northwest region are full.”

“We got a lot of great animals here that need a great place to live,” Ratkai said. “So we’re really working hard to make sure we’re maintaining that capacity, taking care of the animals that are in our charge.”

Currently, the TCAS is hosting a “Clear the Shelter” event which brings the adoption fee for dogs and puppies to $100 dollars and for cats and kittens to $50 dollars.

Animals are also neutered or spayed, vaccinated, and with their proper medications thanks to helping from Tri-Cities veterinary offices.

“We’re getting those done quickly so that when people come in to adopt an animal, they can take it home that day which helps us with shelter capacity but it will also help unite these animals with great families,” Ratkai said.

Those second chances are key for Ramon, a Kennewick resident who suffered bad injuries during an accident in 2018.

“My head cracked open on the whole side,” Ramon said, noting he was also in a coma for months. “God helped me to be alive.”

So when his father-in-law passed and his mother-in-law didn’t want to keep the family’s dog, Ramon said he knew this was the time to give something else a second chance.

Now he’s the proud owner of his in-laws’ Chow Chow, who he lovingly calls his “best friend.”

“He took care of me,” Ramon said. “We have so many dogs here that we just want somebody to adopt. If somebody has a chance to adopt any pet whether it’s a cat or whatever you like, you should go for it and adopt it and it’s gonna make you happy in life.”

The Tri-Cities Animal Shelter is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Each adoption includes spaying/neutering, microchipping, the first set of vaccinations, the first bag of food, and a slip leash.

To view adoptable cats, click here.

To view adoptable dogs, click here.

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The search for the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter Director continues