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Animal Shelter celebrates 50th anniversary

50% off adoption fees extended through July 10!

Fifty years ago the City of Seattle began operating its own animal shelter.

Animal welfare was a hot topic at that time and Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman (1969-1977) received more than his fair share of letters about it. In 1972 he vetoed the City Council’s legislation to renew the contract with Seattle Humane, a non-profit that had provided shelter services in the city since 1922.

When the City shelter opened, more than 75 percent of the dogs and cats there – more than 30,000 animals per year – were euthanized due to a pet population explosion. That sad reality led to a focused effort to spay and neuter pets and to calls for a spay and neuter clinic to be part of the new shelter facility that would open in 1982.

One of SAS’ partners in animal welfare, PAWS, located in Lynnwood, formed in 1967 to promote spaying and neutering.

“’Every time we went to the grocery store, there would be a box of kittens or puppies with a sign saying ‘free to a good home’,” recalled Virginia Knouse, PAWS’ co-founder. “It was awful and we wanted to do something about it.”

Knouse served on the Citizens’ Task Force on Animal Control Problems in Seattle that led to the creation of SAS in 1972.

In a typical year SAS’s Spay and Neuter clinic performs nearly 2,300 surgeries, ensuring that we never go back to the days when unwanted, yet healthy, pets faced a deadly fate. Today, 50 years later, fewer than 100 animals are euthanized each year and only those already critically ill.

You can be part of the Shelter’s next 50 years by fostering or adopting a pet today with 50% adoption fees through July 10. See all of the dogs, cats, and critters looking for homes.