City of Pasco staff recommended to the Pasco City Council at the October 11 Workshop that the City continue managing the Tri-Cities Animal Control & Shelter.
The Tri-Cities Animal Control & Shelter operates under the executive management of the Tri-Cities Animal Control Authority (ACA), which are the cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, and has for many years. Historically, management of the shelter and enforcement of the three cities' animal codes have been accomplished through a contractor. On November 11, 2021, the ACA invited Benton Franklin Human Society (BFHS) to assume operational control of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter, including all operations for regional animal control, shelter operations, and personnel management. This action was due to an urgent and emergency action initiated due to law enforcement action against the previous contractor, which prompted their immediate and unplanned dismissal. BFHS completed its term of the emergency agreement on July 15, 2022.
The City of Pasco staff took over the facility's day-to-day operations and animal control on July 16. During the interim, City staff established needed policies, procedures, and standards for animal control and shelter services and overcame many challenges of overcrowded animal conditions and a canine parvovirus outbreak. Other tasks completed were recruitment and onboarding of the entire staff, providing needed upgrades to the shelter's technology equipment, improving the functionality of the aging and antiquated facility, and improving the state of sanitation. Phase I of a new Animal Shelter project is scheduled to begin construction before the end of 2022 with the construction of necessary infrastructure improvements.
The estimated annual budget for a City managed operation is $2 million, split evenly among the three Cities. This amount would be approximately $400,000 annually over the BFHS contract. In anticipation of a permanent division of the City, the City of Pasco has begun recruiting a full-time Animal Services Manager as part of the Administrative & Community Services Department.
"After a careful look at the operation and facility of the Animal Shelter, it was clear that a City managed Shelter would be the best route for both the taxpayer and the animals in our collective care," said City Manager Dave Zabell. Zabell added, "While the interlocal agreement between the three cities allows for a member City to perform the animal shelter and control functions, I'm grateful that the cities of Kennewick and Richland are supportive of this change. I would also like to recognize Interim Shelter Manager Angela Pashon for her leadership and the Benton-Franklin Humane Society for their work after the departure of the previous contractor."
The City of Pasco strives to continue improving the quality of community life in Pasco.