The search for the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter Director continues

PASCO, Wash. — The City of Pasco has posted a bid for the new Tri-Cities Animal Shelter Director who will also be tasked with overseeing Animal Control as well.

But, some have asked, where are the other cities in this process?

“So, the three cities entered into a interlocal agreement, many, many years ago, and one of several actually and this is our burden,” Dave Zabell, the Pasco City Manager said.

They’re hoping to get bids for the director position by August 5th, since the Benton Franklin Humane Society did not renew their contract to continue running the shelter.

Zach Ratkai with the City said they’ve come up with a short term solution.

“We’ll be creating a number of temporary city positions to ensure that the shelter is staffed and operations are handled from both the sheltering side also,” he said.

Ratkai said they have a number of volunteers willing to step in and help during this transition period, but, when it comes to the bidding process, others have some concerns.

Carly Larkin was a foster parent for shelter animals and said the cities should be seeking out a different way to staff the shelter. She even started a petition some time ago to get the attention of the Tri-Cities’ City Managers.

“It can work, but not well, that’s why most cities and counties don’t opt for it, it makes things very convoluted, you have different laws for each city that have to be enforced and not to mention just the sheer size of the cities,” she said.

Larkin said many volunteers are worried about the lack of oversight and how animal control has been run.

“They really are completely left to govern themselves — it is law enforcement, and the cities, they just don’t seem to care they just want to sign it over to somebody and then be done with it,” she said.

KAPP KVEW asked the City of Pasco what they’re doing to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

“It’s an overstatement to say there was no oversight you know, they got out of there and we got an emergency operator in there — didn’t miss a beat. We’ve certainly learned our lessons as you do with experience and there will be safeguards in the new contract that weren’t perhaps in the old contract,” Zabell said.

As for what those safeguards are, we don’t yet know.

But we do the budget for the shelter and new director has increased. Zabell said each city will be contributing more and hopefully that will help whoever comes in get things running smoothly.

Construction of the new shelter is set to begin this fall, and completed in 2023.

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