City partners with new veterinary hospital for animal sheltering

Decision means city will not expand city shelters.

The City of Renton on Tuesday announced a new partnership with a local veterinary facility to provide animal control shelter services, essentially ending discussions of the city expanding its current shelter and taking on Animal Control duties itself.

According to Deputy Public Affairs Administrator Preeti Shridhar, the city has reached an agreement with Eastside Veterinary Services, a new facility on Northeast 44th Street, to provide shelter services while the city continues to look for additional partners and options.

Tough an agreement has been reached, a contract has yet to be signed.

“We are very pleased with this partnership,” Mayor Denis Law said in a press release. “This new, award-winning animal hospital with veterinary medical expertise and a highly sterilized facility offers the best shelter and care for animals as they wait to be united with their owners.”

The city’s long-standing agreement with the Seattle Humane Society was terminated this summer and the new partnership offers a substantial increase in the services offered, according to a press release.

The new facility offers a full service clinic and boarding area. Animals receive personal care from dedicated staff, and veterinarians are on site and on call in case of medical needs. Every animal brought to them will receive a full medical examination, vaccination, and if necessary, flea treatments. Spay/neuter, microchipping and dental services are also available.

The facility features separate wings for cats and dogs with individual climate control and dedicated heat and air conditioning. The cat boarding area is designed for function and comfort and includes six levels of space for cats to eat, drink, exercise and rest.

Air circulation is controlled so cats will not share air thereby eliminating the risk of spreading disease. The dog boarding area features 29 individual sites, with tempered doors and sealed floors and walls to prevent the spread of germs. The units have large windows and skylights to allow natural light.

Citizens and animal activists throughout Renton have been complaining about the city’s current shelter set-up and have expressed their opposition to the police department’s plan to expand the site and handle services in-house.

But Shridhar said this decision, combined with the passage of a budget ordinance that does not contain the money requested by the police to expand the facility, signals the council’s plans on the matter.

Shridhar said it is anticipated that the current budget will be able to pay the costs of sheltering the animals at the veterinary facility.

In addition to the partnership with the veterinary clinic, the city has adopted some additional animal control measures to improve service. Partnerships are also being developed with other organizations to assist with adoption services.

Volunteers will help coordinate the rehoming and transfer of unclaimed animals after the hold period. Connecting animals with their owners has been expanded to include social media communications. Holding some animals for up to five days instead of the three days required by law is being considered.

The city also continues to increase outreach and education efforts to get pet owners to license, spay/neuter and micro-chip their animals. Plans include hosting several community events including pet fairs, licensing and chipping campaigns, and social media and advertising efforts.

Shridhar said the new agreement was a staff decision, not the council’s, though she said the council was consulted.

More details on the agreement are expected in the coming weeks.

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