Kitsap Humane Society might take over city animal control

For 20 years the Bremerton Police Department has had animal control authority in Bremerton, but that might change.

The Bremerton City Council voted to permit the city to enter a $181,634 contract with the Kitsap Humane Society giving them animal control authority, instead of Bremerton Animal Control (BAC), which currently has one officer, Kathy DeShon.

The vote to pass the first reading of the ordinance was 6 to 2, with Council members Ed Rollman and Mike Shepherd opposing. Council President Carol Arends abstained.

The proposed year-long contract between the city and the Humane Society allows for a financial review six months from the start. If the Council votes to accept the ordinance at its second reading June 12 it will go into effect July 1.

Lack of resources to maintain BAC is the reason the city is considering the contract, said Bremerton Police Lt. Tom Wolfe.

If the city enters the contract, KHS would handle animal control cases, including dangerous, wild and stray animals. After business hours, CenCom could reach KHS animal control officers through an answering service, said Winton Reed, the KHS executive director.

KHS would also act as an agent to the city treasurer by issuing and collecting fees for pet licenses in Bremerton. Funds collected from licenses would be returned to the city of Bremerton, according to Reed.

The ordinance would also amend city laws involving animal control. KHS requested the amendments, which model Kitsap County’s codes but are not exactly the same, according to Wolfe, who was on the committee that researched the contract.

“It’s neater and cleaner and it’s fair. People are able to meet the restrictions in the revised one,” Wolfe said of the amended ordinance.

The major change is that the revised ordinance will address cats at large — the previous one did not. There are also changes to laws regulating dangerous animals and the cost of licensing pets.

The KHS is a full-service Humane Society, part of a national private non-profit organization founded in 1908.

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