Chief Executive Officer | Spokane County, Wash.
We’ve heard a number of statements made in recent months regarding SCRAPS that have been both inaccurate and misleading. Some in open public forum in front of the commissioners, some received via email.
I want to assure you that Spokane County and its Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) are committed to ensuring the highest standards of care and ethical treatment of animals at SCRAPS, while also protecting public safety.
Unfortunately, two Spokane City Council members have allowed these incorrect narratives to be perpetuated at their council meetings. Despite multiple meetings with these council members to provide them with actual facts surrounding SCRAPS, they refuse to acknowledge any different narrative than what they are hearing from a small group of community activists. In doing so, they are harming the very animals they claim to be wanting to help, by perpetuating unfounded allegations and irresponsibly harming SCRAPS reputation in the community.
This is disappointing as we expect our elected officials are duty bound to make sure they are using factual information in their evaluation and decision-making process. Despite numerous invitations to these 2 city council members to visit our SCRAPS animal control facility and see our services in action, they still have not taken us up on the offer.
Public Safety is an integral part of our animal control and protection services and our decisions clearly took into consideration safety for our community members and their pets.
One important area that needs to be addressed is an incorrect narrative that SCRAPS is not partnering with animal shelters and rescues in our region. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
SCRAPS has regular interaction and partnerships with animal shelters and reputable animal rescues in our region. All have visited our facility in recent months. All have observed the dogs that were recently euthanized and other similar dogs in our facility. All have declined to accept transfer of these dogs into their custody. They reached conclusions consistent with our SCRAPS team: the dogs are an untreatable threat to humans and other animals.
We greatly appreciate the partnerships with these organizations that SCRAPS leadership has worked hard over the past year to reestablish. We have also received feedback from a number of veterinarians in our community supporting our decision as they often have to shutdown their entire clinic when members of the community bring similar aggressive dogs in for treatment.
Another important item for clarity is that when SCRAPS is at capacity (which happens from time to time), SCRAPS does have to turn away strays who are not injured, sick, or dangerous. In those instances, we work to employ a community sheltering model, where we ask the finder to help care for the animal and SCRAPS offers to provide necessary food and equipment to the finder until SCRAPS has sufficient capacity to house the stray.
SCRAPS endeavors to save as many surrendered and impounded animals as possible, and annually reunites and re-homes thousands of animals in the community. In fact, SCRAPS has an above 93% (889 in 2023) placement rate for the dogs in its care.
The decision to humanely euthanize animals deemed an untreatable threat to humans and animals is a difficult one, made in consultation with our licensed veterinarian and trained behavioral specialists on-staff. To be clear, humane euthanasia is always a last resort, and never employed due to capacity issues.
You can learn more about our decision-making and read recently conducted assessments on the SCRAPS page of the Spokane County website
I also want to reiterate that SCRAPS continues to be open for our community to come and adopt a pet. SCRAPS hours open to the public as published on our County website are noon to 7pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 11am to 5:30 pm on Saturdays. We are closed to the public Thursdays and Sundays however we do have staff working those days and appointments can be made for reclaimed pets.
We ask for the community’s continued help in adopting, donating, and volunteering with SCRAPS. And remember, please help our community by spaying or neutering your pets. And please microchip your pet in the event they become lost so they can be quickly reunited with you.
I hope this helps those in the community who have questions around SCRAPS roles and responsibilities in Spokane County to reunite lost pets with their owners, to safely adopt animals into homes that are seeking a pet and to keep the public safe from dogs that are an untreatable threat to humans and animals.
Thanks to the County Commissioners for your support of our SCRAPS employees and our committed volunteers in carrying out their duties and responsibilities as an animal control and protection agency of Spokane County and for ensuring our community remains safe from dogs who are an untreatable threat to humans and animals.