County ends contract with Lynnwood PAWS shelter

EVERETT — If you’re wondering what to do with that stray dog or cat you wanted to help, you’ll soon have only one place to take it if you live in unincorporated Snohomish County.

That would be the Everett Animal Shelter.

The county has ended its long-time contract with Lynnwood’s Progressive Animal Welfare Society, which used to take in strays found in the unincorporated parts of south Snohomish County.

The change takes effect May 1.

County Auditor Carolyn Weikel announced Wednesday that her staff was unable to negotiate a new contract with PAWS, which has provided service for more than 20 years. Negotiations have been going on for several months.

The possibility of ending the county’s long-standing relationship with PAWS has been under discussion since 2010.

Last year, Snohomish County residents brought 920 animals to PAWS, said Vicki Lubrin, manager of Licensing and Animal Control Services. Animal control officers also brought three animals there in 2011.

PAWS, in a statement, said that it would focus on serving cities, which are annexing unincorporated areas.

The end of the county contract would have no effect on the nine Snohomish and King County cities that currently contract with PAWS.

And anyone from unincorporated areas can continue to surrender their own adult cats and dogs to PAWS for a fee.

“I think it’s going to work out fine for the animals and the citizens, and that’s what our focus is,” said Kay Joubert, PAWS director for companion-animal services.

The county had been paying PAWS $110 per stray animal, while Everett charges $105. The price, however, wasn’t necessarily the sticking point, leaders from both sides of the negotiation said.

The county auditor was quick to praise PAWS.

“Do I value PAWS and the service they provide? Absolutely,” Weikel said. “They have been partners for a long time. It was a difficult decision. I wish them the best of luck and they do provide a good service.”

Reach Snohomish County Animal Control Services at 425-388-3440, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Everett shelter, at 333 Smith Island Road, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day, except on holidays.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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