Animal Shelter Services

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Ellensburg Animal Shelter building

The Ellensburg Animal Shelter, overseen by the Ellensburg Police Department (EPD), has operated as a clearinghouse for lost and found pets, strays, and dangerous animals, as well as owner surrendered animals since 1974. The shelter was staffed by a manager (exempt employee), one animal control officer, and a part-time shelter care person. Thirteen years ago, a sales tax initiative backed by many residents, non-profit groups, and voters, approved 3/10th's of one percent to increase public safety staffing. This included adding one full-time animal control officer and part-time shelter support. Long-term, staffing did not increase.

Enforcement activity and call-for-service coverage has not been improved over the years. Police officers still handle a large share of animal complaints during on-duty hours for shelter employees.

Why are we evaluating services?

A change in staffing provided a natural opportunity to examine services and consider alternatives. One of the part-time employees left in November 2021 to do other work. In December 2021, one full-time animal control officer retired. In January 2022, the long tenured shelter manager also retired. This has left us with a shortage of available workforce to handle the shelter care duties.

The City of Ellensburg Comprehensive Plan speaks to the animal shelter and states that as city and regional needs increase, a staff and facility needs assessment will be necessary.

Chief Wade updated City Council at its February 7, 2022 meeting regarding these developments along with the community needs survey that was underway.

Captain Jim Weed updated City Council at its March 7, 2022 meeting regarding the animal shelter services survey results and service model options moving forward.

The City Council approved a motion to direct staff to produce a request for proposal (RFP) for animal care and shelter services to explore a partnership for private/nonprofit animal shelter service provision. Community partners engaged in animal welfare have been invited to participate in the development of the RFP.

Enforcement would remain with the Police Department.

The Ellensburg Animal Shelter, overseen by the Ellensburg Police Department (EPD), has operated as a clearinghouse for lost and found pets, strays, and dangerous animals, as well as owner surrendered animals since 1974. The shelter was staffed by a manager (exempt employee), one animal control officer, and a part-time shelter care person. Thirteen years ago, a sales tax initiative backed by many residents, non-profit groups, and voters, approved 3/10th's of one percent to increase public safety staffing. This included adding one full-time animal control officer and part-time shelter support. Long-term, staffing did not increase.

Enforcement activity and call-for-service coverage has not been improved over the years. Police officers still handle a large share of animal complaints during on-duty hours for shelter employees.

Why are we evaluating services?

A change in staffing provided a natural opportunity to examine services and consider alternatives. One of the part-time employees left in November 2021 to do other work. In December 2021, one full-time animal control officer retired. In January 2022, the long tenured shelter manager also retired. This has left us with a shortage of available workforce to handle the shelter care duties.

The City of Ellensburg Comprehensive Plan speaks to the animal shelter and states that as city and regional needs increase, a staff and facility needs assessment will be necessary.

Chief Wade updated City Council at its February 7, 2022 meeting regarding these developments along with the community needs survey that was underway.

Captain Jim Weed updated City Council at its March 7, 2022 meeting regarding the animal shelter services survey results and service model options moving forward.

The City Council approved a motion to direct staff to produce a request for proposal (RFP) for animal care and shelter services to explore a partnership for private/nonprofit animal shelter service provision. Community partners engaged in animal welfare have been invited to participate in the development of the RFP.

Enforcement would remain with the Police Department.

  • Transition

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    The Yakima Humane Society is now managing the Ellensburg Animal Shelter. This page will remain up for the first six months of the transition.

  • Yakima Humane Society To Provide Services To Ellensburg Animal Shelter

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    Yakima Humane Society To Provide Services To Ellensburg Animal Shelter

    ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Yakima Humane Society will begin providing animal care services to the Ellensburg community via the Ellensburg Animal Shelter starting on August 1, 2022.

    The Ellensburg Animal Shelter, overseen by the Ellensburg Police Department (EPD), has operated as a clearinghouse for lost and found pets, strays, and dangerous animals, as well as owner-surrendered animals since 1974. A staffing shortage in January provided the City with an opportunity to examine services and consider alternate shelter and enforcement service models. The City identified potential for cost savings and expanded services through partnerships in other jurisdictions.

    A request for proposals went out in April, but no bidders responded. With no response, the City worked to negotiate a contract with the Yakima Humane Society (YHS), an established regional animal care provider that has served the people and animals of Yakima County for over 100 years.

    Under the agreement the City will rent the building and grounds to YHS, and all animal sheltering activity and associated needs will be handled by the Yakima Humane Society. The City will pay YHS $60,000 annually for a three-year term.

    “I’d like to thank City staff and Kittitas County Friends of Animals for thinking creatively to find a cost-effective strategy to improve services for lost and surrendered animals,” said Ellensburg Mayor Nancy Lillquist. “We look forward to developing a relationship with Yakima Humane Society.”

    The Ellensburg Police Department will maintain their current full-time Animal Shelter employee, who will now focus on handling enforcement activity only and will work out of the Ellensburg Police Department.

    The Yakima Humane Society’s scope of work under the contract includes: maintaining hours of operation, standards of care and exercise of animals, transition and communications planning, veterinary care, animal licensing, handling of fees and fines, scanning for microchips, adoption program, audits and reporting, record retention, partnering and use of volunteers, and handling of unclaimed animals, stray animals, redemption and euthanasia.

    “We are excited at this opportunity to bring our services to Ellensburg,” said Sheryl Haga, Executive Director of the Yakima Humane Society. “Not only will we continue our mission of ending cruelty and animal suffering and reducing animal overpopulation, we will focus on microchipping to help aid in reunification of pets and owners. A few other exciting things you can expect to see will be adoption events, low-cost vaccinations clinics, volunteer opportunities and more. We look forward to getting to know the needs of the community and to continue to give voices to those who have none.”

    The Yakima Humane Society’s Board of Directors will create an Ellensburg member position. A transition team with representatives from the City, YHS and other stakeholders will meet periodically for up to a year to review shelter performance and communications.

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  • Update On RFP

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    Since the City Council provided direction to the City Manager to explore contracting options with the private and nonprofit sector for shelter services, our staff have been working in conjunction with Kittitas County Friends of Animals (KCFOA), and Council's designee, Councilmember Elliott. A request for proposals (RFP) was developed and published on April 11. We did not receive any responses to the posted RFP by the April 29 deadline of 3:00 p.m.

    Our staff and team are working on options for contracting shelter services. We will bring back any recommendations for a service agreement to the City Council after our due diligence.

  • RFP Process

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    The Ellensburg Police Department is developing a request for proposals (RFP) for animal care and shelter services, and will include involvement of community partners engaged in animal welfare in the development of the RFP.

    What is a request for proposal (RFP)?

    A request for proposal is a formal process used to solicit bids from vendors and identify which one is best qualified to provide services desired by a community. A request for proposal outlines the scope of work, background information, and project objectives.

    Why do government agencies use the request for proposal process?

    The RFP process is required by state law. It allows for proposers to submit creative solutions to complicated problems where price alone doesn’t determine the best solution.

    RFPs require specific information from the proposers indicating how they would provide the services, their qualifications, and the value of their services.

    Much care and thought goes into the RFP process, and it can take time to complete.

    What is the process for selecting a proposal?

    The City will establish a set of criteria for evaluating submissions, which should correlate to the scope of work and objectives of a project. Once the submission period has closed, an evaluation team will review and score the received proposals.

Page last updated: 22 Aug 2022, 08:37 AM