Tri-Cities animal shelter construction delayed. Animals stuck at old shelter for now

The stray, abandoned and lost pets of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland will have to put up with their aging, dank shelter in Pasco a bit longer.

Construction of the long-awaited Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Control Services building is expected to begin in early 2020, weather permitting.

The $6 million project is a joint venture of the three cities, with Pasco serving as the host and manager since it owns the A Street property.

Animal control officials have been touting the need for a new shelter since at least 2011.

A change in management prompted a review of the design after the new leaders expressed an interest in adding kennel space and cutting office space.

Chicle Animal Foundation, led by Debbie Sporcich, took over in April, following the December retirement of longtime manager Angela Zilar.

Like her predecessor, Sporcich said the old building has outlived its purpose. It’s too small, difficult to maintain, a haven for rodents and poorly ventilated.

A new building will be healthier for animals, for workers and for the community, she said..

Constructed in 1950s

The current 7,000-square-foot, concrete block structure was constructed in the 1950s. It operated as a Humane Society shelter until Animal Control took over in 2001.

The three cities agreed to cooperate on a replacement after a 2017 study confirmed the need.

Zach Ratkai, Pasco’s director of administrative and community services, said the city is reviewing the designs with its partners and updating construction costs.

He hopes to break ground in January or February.

In the interim, dogs and cats keep arriving at 1312 S. 18th, Pasco.

By the numbers

In the first three months since Chicle took over, the shelter took in more than 830 cats and dogs, Sporcich said.

  • Of 425 dogs, 138 were adopted, 50 were transferred to rescue organizations that seek adoptive homes, 186 were reunited with their owners, six were euthanized because of medical issues or injuries, 22 were dead when animal control picked them up and two died in the center.
  • Of the 406 cats, 48 were adopted, 132 transferred to rescue organizations, 37 were captured, neutered and returned, 10 were reunited with their owners, 22 were euthanized for medical or injury reasons, 35 were dead when they were picked up, 7 died in facility. and four escaped from an outdoor enclosure.

Sporcich shared one recent happy ending. Trucker, the kitten whose rescue from Interstate 182 attracted headlines, was adopted after being placed with a foster family.

While Pasco and its partner cities work out the final details of the new shelter, Sprocich put out a plea for volunteers to help organize programs to aid the dogs and cats that come through its doors.

The Tri-Cities Animal Control shelter is one of several in the Mid-Columbia.

Benton County has a 32-kennel dog shelter in Kennewick and the Benton-Franklin Humane Society has a shelter in east Kennewick.