Pasco council wants city to run animal shelter

Pasco wants city-run animal shelter, Richland Kennewick agrees (Townsquare Media)

Pasco wants city-run animal shelter, Richland Kennewick agrees (Townsquare Media)

On Wednesday, the City of Pasco released a statement saying the city council would prefer the Tri-City Animal Shelter to be run by the city.

Animal shelter costs are shared by Richland, Kennewick and Pasco

According to information released by Pasco Communications Program Manager Jon Funfar:

“After careful consideration of the operations and facilities of the animal shelter, it was clear that a city-run shelter would be the best course both for the taxpayer and for the animals in our collective care,” — City Manager Dave Zabell.

Nearly two years ago, the city pulled the contract from the nonprofit group that oversaw the shelter on West “A” Street in Pasco due to significant mismanagement and poor animal conditions. The animals have been removed from the facility.

After the Benton-Franklin Humane Society (BFHS) took over operations from the Tri-City Animal Control Authority, conditions improved. Neo-Nation, the former operator, was sued by the city because officials allegedly kept the funding for themselves instead of using it for the shelter. The incident involved a Pasco Police Department investigation.

After the BFHS contract ended, the city of Pasco resumed operations in July 2022. Since then, officials say it has become clear that a city-run facility is the best option. Many improvements, upgrades and increased sanitization have been implemented.

Now the City is looking to hire a full-time Animal Services Manager to oversee the shelter. Pasco says the annual cost of a city-run shelter would be about $2 million, which would be split three ways among the three cities. According to information from Funfar and the City, this would represent an increase of approximately $400,000 per year over previous amounts.

City Manager Zabel says Richland and Kennewick support the proposal.

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