Arlington reopens animal shelter

By BRIAN KELLY

Herald Writer

ARLINGTON – Fetch Fido, scoop up Spot, and doggone it, don’t leave Hooch at home.

The grassroots group working to reopen the Arlington-area animal shelter want to see dogs by the dozen Saturday during the grand opening for the new Animal Shelter of North County.

"Bring your dogs," said shelter supporter Kara Beall, because the start-up celebration includes a dog parade and also a contest to see who looks most like their pet.

Arlington’s facility handled about 200 animals a month, but the shelter was closed in early January because the building was inadequate for the city’s needs, leaving Everett as the only government in the county operating a shelter that takes in all animals.

Worried that an increase in animal euthanasia rates was imminent, a group of citizens stepped up to restart the shelter. They lobbied Arlington officials for permission to renovate the shelter on 63rd Avenue NE, and now the doors are ready to swing open.

"It really has been a tremendous amount of work," Beall said. "If we had to pay for these repairs, it would have been between $70,000 and $90,000."

The plumbing and electrical systems were redone, and a new hot water heater, ventilation system and furnace were installed. Cement dividers were placed between the kennels, and the building was also repainted. All of the labor and materials for the repairs, though, were donated.

"It’s amazing. We hope to maintain that kind of community support after we’re open," Beall said. "A shelter is only as good as the community that takes care of it."

That means encouraging people to adopt their next pet from a shelter, as well as spaying and neutering the ones they already own.

"We’re really trying to keep this sense of community awareness and support way past the grand opening," Beall said. "We’ve got our fingers crossed that that support is there."

Organizers hope to operate the facility "as close to a no-kill shelter as possible," Beall added.

Current plans are to keep dropped-off animals for 72 hours, or as long as there’s space, or place them in temporary foster homes.

Saturday’s celebration will feature food, children’s activities, and musical entertainment by the Seattle Raindrops, an all-girl band of 11-year-olds. A bake sale, silent auction and door prizes are also part of the shindig.

Those who don’t bring an animal will have a chance to take one home; organizers have already been called by people with extra puppies or kittens.

"If anyone is looking to adopt a pet, they may find one that day," Beall said.

The shelter will open Tuesday, and organizers expect it to be busy. An agreement is in place with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, which will pay the shelter $27.10 per animal it brings there. The shelter also hopes to contract with Darrington, and, eventually, Arlington.

But volunteers say the shelter will see action immediately.

"We’ll have animals on Tuesday, I’m sure of it," Beall said.

"We’ll be ready for them."

You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to

kelly@heraldnet.com.

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