Peninsular Thinking A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
The method (not without its critics) is trap-neuter-return. KHS
vets say it’s documented to work in gradually reducing feral,
pardon me, community cat colonies.
Adult feral cats can’t be socialized for placement as pets. The
past approach to eradication of feral cat colonies has been to trap
and euthanize the animals. But that doesn’t work well, according to
KHS veterinarian Jen Stonequist.
Because feral cats are territorial, eliminating members of the
colony simply creates a void that is soon filled again by new cats
– and their unchecked litters of kittens. The cats who live in
these colonies are generally in poor health and carry disease.
“An effective TNR program works to stabilize the free-roaming
cat population in a community by preventing new litters of unwanted
kittens, and reduces feline illnesses by reducing mother-to-litter
transmission and transmission by fighting,” said KHS Spokeswoman
Rachel Bearbower. “It can also significantly reduce the noise and
odor which arise from unaltered males fighting, mating, and marking
KHS officials estimate there are more than 2,200 feral cats in
the 98366 area code, where the effort is focused.
The Community Cats Program, funded through a PetSmart grant
provides live traps and training on trapping to willing
Adults are neutered or spayed, and given a full check up and a
rabies vaccine before they are reintroduced to their preferred
neighborhood. A small mark on the ear prevents repeats. Kittens are
taken into the humane society for placement as pets.
Over time the colony shrinks, as the animals are unable to
The humane society also has a litter abatement program. If your
pet has had a litter, you can bring the babies (dog or cat) to KHS.
They will be spayed and neutered, and placed in “forever homes.”
KHS also will spay the parent free of charge and return the animal
Anyone with information about feral cat colonies in the Port
Orchard area, or who is interested in volunteering for the
Community Cats program, is asked to contact Kitsap Humane Society
at CommunityCats@kitsap-humane.org or call 360-692-6977.
After Paul Sawatski arrived at the Tacoma Narrows
Bridge toll booth and realized that his dog Patty was missing from
the back of the truck, her leash and collar dangling over the side
of the vehicle, he spent three days searching for her along Highway
16 without success.
More than a week after Sawatski returned to Kansas,
several Kitsap County locals continued the search for Patty, a
six-year-old hound dog Sawatski has had since she was seven weeks
old, he said.
Patty was eventually caught in a live trap with the
help of Julie Saavedra, of Bremerton, on July 18, and arrived back
in Kansas July 23, almost three weeks after she went missing.
“She clicked her little paws three times and back to
Kansas she went,” Saavedra said.
The dog was in good health when she was found, she
And Patty is now back to lounging on the bed at home,
Sawatski and his fiancé Jessica Mahler were driving
back to Kansas after visiting family in Kitsap County during the
Fourth of July. Sawatski grew up in Seabeck and now lives in
Patty and Jessica both dislike fire works, so
Sawatski said he decided to take them and their other two dogs —
Charlie and Franklin — to camp grounds were fireworks were not
allowed. Somewhere between the Tremont Street exit and the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge on Highway 16, Sawatski said he thinks Patty must
have jumped out, something she has never done before.
“No one honked. I didn’t hear anything hit the
truck,” he said.
Sawatski and Mahler spent the Fourth of July driving
up and down Highway 16 looking for Patty. There was no sign of the
dog in the road, which kept Sawatski hopeful, he said.
The couple stayed through the weekend searching and
contacting local humane societies. Mahler flew back to Kansas for
work on Monday and Sawatski stay an extra day to search for
After seeing online postings for the missing dog,
Saavedra contacted the Sawatski and offered her helping locating
Patty. Saavedra runs the Facebook page “Kitsap and Mason counties
Lost and Found Furbabies.”
People would call Saavedra or Sawatski when they
sighted the dog, narrowing where she could be found.
After several reported sightings around the Purdy
Crescent Road exit, Saavedra set a live trap with a cooked steak,
chew toy and T-shirt that Sawatski mailed her. The hope was that
Sawatski’s scent would bring the hound dog into the trap, Saavedra
“I think the steak had something to do with it too,”
Maybe it was Squirt’s time. Maybe he had an underlying illness.
Whatever the case, Mallory Jackson walked into her custom framing
shop on Bay Street in Port Orchard just about a year ago to find
her nearly 17-year-old cat, Squirt, beloved mascot of Custom
Picture Framing on Bay Street, curled up in his basket but not
asleep, no, dead.
Squirt must have died some time over the holiday. He had seemed
fine on New Year’s Eve as he and Jackson spent the day together,
she working, he presiding, as was his way. There was the ritual
brushing at the end of the work day, the play time. The cat was
well accommodated and used to spending Sundays in the store solo.
On Monday, she found him.
The loss of Squirt was “horrible,” Jackson said. She was not
eager to get a new cat, but in August, at an animal adoption event
hosted by the Kitsap Humane Society, there was one that caught her
eye. He was orange, like Squirt, and he was missing his right front
The cat was found by Good Samaritans in July, shot in the chest
with BB’s, his leg fractured in several places. A vet in Central
Kitsap tended to the cat and had no choice but to amputate the leg.
The humane society handled the placement, when the cat was well
enough to go to a new home.
Jackson did not take the cat right away. She went out and bought
supplies, toys. If he was still there, she reason she was meant to
have him. If not …
The cat was still there. She called him Scooter Kitty, and after
some initial shyness, he has taken over the frame shop, winning the
hearts of Jackson and her customers, much as did Squirt.
Scooter Kitty’s loss of a leg doesn’t hamper him much. He jumps up
on tables with ease and “he’s so darn fast,” Jackson said. The two
are a good fit.
“He just needed a home, and I needed a cat,” she said.
More happy news out of a sad situation: the cat we reported on
in October that had been
bound in tape and set on fire recovered well and is now happy
in her new home. There are no leads in this horrific case of animal
The cat was found in a flower bed near Orchard Heights
Elementary School. She was brought to Cedar Creek Animal Hospital
and treated for hypothermia as well as burns that took the tips of
her ears but fortunately did no more significant damage.
Remarkably, the cat not only trusted humans after its ordeal, but
was outright affectionate.
“All she wants to do is jump in your lap and purr,” said clinic
owner Dr. Mike Alberts.
One of the people who brought her in has adopted the young
female cat and named her Marvel.
“It’s a wonderfully nice cat,” Alberts said. “It’s doing great
and has a great home.”
And while we’re on the topic of sad cat tales with a silver
lining, let’s not forget the story of James Raasch, who took in a
stray cat while stationed with the Navy in Naples, Italy. The cat
was his companion for more than a decade, but when he relocated to
Bremerton, the cat went missing.
Raasch moved to California and gave the cat up for gone, hoping
her Italian street smarts would keep her safe. Odie, as he called
her, took up with a feral cat colony and was located by the Kitsap
Humane Society, which monitors feral cat populations. Information
on a microchip embedded beneath Odie’s fur
reunited the two, when Raasch came to Kitsap for a wedding.
Odie seemed almost instantly to recognize her owner. She is now
living in California, happy to be home, wherever that might be.
POULSBO — Poulsbo Inn and Suites sales manager Courtney Cutrona
was a little skeptical while listening to a scruffy, older German
claim he was on a worldwide bike tour with his two Alaskan
Randolph Westphal said he stopped in Poulsbo last week as part
of his sixth bike tour to inspire others to not give up in the face
of challenges. It’s a story he’s lived through, he told Poulsbo Inn
staff, after nearly dying from skin cancer in 1987. He’s had 28
surgeries to remove the cancer and today, bikes around the world
sharing his story.
In-between his tales, Cutrona was able to slip away and do a
quick internet search on the 55 year old, who is from Frankfurt,
The information she found confirmed Westphal’s story.
“Sometimes we get some people with interesting stories, but this
kind of struck me as different,” she said.
Cutrona and the general manager of Poulsbo Inn decided to let the
bicyclist stay at the hotel Tuesday night for free.
Westphal said he relies on the generosity of strangers to help him
and his dogs while on his bike tours. (And finding Subway locations
because the sandwiches are cheap, he added.) He plans to log almost
25,000 miles on this trip.
media has detailed Westphal’s tour, which started in May. The
Daily News wrote about another tour in 2008.
He started traveling around the world on his bike to inspire
others to “never give up,” he said. He uses a cart to bring his
traveling companions — two Alaskan malamutes — along for the ride.
He sometimes does motivational speeches along the way.
Westphal said he’s never heard of the area until last
week. His stay in Kitsap was brief — he left for Seattle the
next day and made plans to hit Oregon after that.
“He’s an exuberant guy,” Cutrona said the day after Westphal
left. “It was an interesting interaction.. He deserved some sort of
recognition for what he’s doing.”
PORT ORCHARD — Juliua Stroup has been reuniting lost dogs with
their owners for only two months, but she’s already lost count of
the number of reunions she’s done.
There was Brewster, a dog from Gig Harbor missing since June 15.
Stroup found him in Port Orchard Friday. A chihuahua-mix found
in Belfair that was reunited with its East Bremerton owner last
week. A Port Orchard bulldog at the animal shelter Stroup
delivered to its owner.
But if she were to see the dogs once again, she’d remember each
“When I’m done with one, I just move on to the next,” said the
50-year-old Port Orchard resident.
Stroup keeps track of lost dogs in the county by spending 8 to
10 hours everyday working toward rescue efforts. That means
spending hours on the internet, comparing found postings to lost
dog ads to match dog and owner.
Her efforts are being honored Sunday by PAWS of Bainbridge
Island and North Kitsap at the annual dog-celebration event,
A retired information technology specialist at Keyport, Stroup
said she got involved in reuniting dogs and their owners in early
July after noticing an increase in the number lost pet ads after
the 4th of July holiday.
“I was just going to help a little, but then I got pulled in,”
Stroup recalled during a phone interview from her Port Orchard
Stroup was recently involved in a reunion between two Boxer dogs
and their Port Ludlow owners.
The dogs had escaped from the Viking Kennels in Poulsbo while
David and Maisie Wheatley and their family went on vacation in
The problem was made worse when Viking Kennels staff revealed
the dogs, Zsa Zsa and Bell, had been missing about a week before
the family returned.
Stroup and a team of volunteers went into rescue mode, scouring
the internet and making phone calls and visiting area animal
shelters on a daily basis.
It also was the first time Stroup herself physically walked and
searched an area for a missing dog, despite still recovering from
hip surgery at the time.
Zsa Zsa was found 11 days later while Bell was found 21 days
Callers noticed Zsa Zsa darting in and out of traffic near
Gunderson and Stottlemeyer Roads and Bell was found hiding in a
wooded area near Lincoln and Widme Roads. Other than dehydration
and a few cuts and scraps, the two dogs were in good shape, Stroup
She calls Zsa Zsa and Bell her godchildren now.
The best part of reuniting owners with their dogs is being part
of the emotional reunion, Stroup said.
Reunited dogs with their owners is just one of the ways Stroup
gives back to her community.
After leaving her job at Keyport a few years ago, Stroup started
collecting wood from various sources to give to the poor.
The 50 year old also volunteers for equine non-profits around
the county, using her trailer to transport horses from one location
“People need to know you don’t need to do something really huge
to help,” she said. “You just have to be a bit inconvenienced. You
don’t have o have a lot of money, but just put in the effort.”
She’ll be attending Sunday’s Wagfest with the Wheatleys and her
Photo: Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa
On Monday Kitsap County Commissioners heard recommendations from
a nine-member citizen advisory committee that has met since
February to find ways to streamline animal control services in the
county. The committee’s review included a look at how animal
control, provided by the Kitsap Humane Society, functions in the
county, ways to increase pet licensing compliance and the need to
update fees based on 2013 numbers.
Eric Baker, special projects manger for the county, presented an
overview of the committee’s recommendation to commissioners at a
work study. Highlights of his presentation include:
Stray animals: Strays make up the majority of
the costs facing animal control services (60 percent, according to
Baker). The costs come from housing the animals and providing care,
including medical attention if they are injured and giving
vaccinations to make sure they are up to date on shots.
The Humane Society holds animals for 96 hours for an owner to
come claim them. If the owner doesn’t come during that 4-day
period, the agency takes ownership of the animal and puts it up for
The committee recommended changing the amount of time animals
are held, differentiating between licensed and unlicensed animals.
A licensed domestic animal will be held 7 days, while unlicensed
animals will see their hold time reduced. Adult dogs and cats will
be held for 72 hours, puppies and kittens under 6 months old will
be held 48 hours and litters only 24 hours (litters rarely come in
which is why there is such a short hold, according to the
Another recommendation is making pet owners pay for the time
their animals are held. If a dog escapes and is captured by an
animal control officer, if the animal is licensed, microchipped or
has some form of identification, often animal control officers try
to return the dog to its home without a visit to the shelter. When
that happens the owner isn’t charged.
The committee has recommended a $45 civil infraction for owners
whose pets escape but are returned without a visit to the shelter.
If an animal is at the shelter the committee proposed increasing
the fees to more accurately reflect the financial burden felt by
the Humane Society. Those proposed increases include a $45 impound
fee (up from $25); $45 vaccination fee (same); $20 boarding fee per
day (up from $15); $30 for a microchip (not applicable now).
Medical costs would be case dependent.
Pet licensing:The story I wrote in today’s
paper covers this in detail, but essentially the
committee would like to see incentives in place to encourage people
to license their pets. Humane Society Executive Director Eric
Stevens compared the licensing to an insurance policy, saying if a
pet is lost or escapes it is one more step toward hopefully being
reunited with the animal.
“The faster we can return the animals to the owners the better
it is to the animals, and the better it is to the owners,” Stevens
said. “And it keeps costs down.”
License fee increases for animals that haven’t been microchipped
or spayed/neutered are proposed and can be found in the committee’s
report (a link to the pdf is at the end of this blog). The
committee also recommended to offer a 3-year and lifetime license
option and a way for people to renew their licenses online.
Investigations: Animal control investigations
are heard in Kitsap County District Court, but often the cases take
a long time to make their way through the legal process. In one
case an animal was held at the Humane Society shelter for 11 months
while waiting for legal proceedings.
The committee recommended moving the animal control infractions
investigations to the county’s hearing examiner process to capture
more of the paid penalties — when paid through District Court most
of the money goes to the state.
County commissioners were happy with the committee’s
recommendations and agreed to begin the process of implementing the
changes. In some cases that means county code will have to be
amended. When that happens public hearings will be held to get
feedback before commissioners vote on the proposed changes.
“There may be some tweaks that we want to make in future years,
but I am more or less OK with the recommendations and I think we
should implement them as soon as possible as it is feasible,”
Commissioner Josh Brown said.
What are the chances that a dog hightailing it through the
countryside in total panic, fleeing fireworks, would find refuge in
the home of the local humane society director?
Kitsap, believe it or not.
The husky was startled by the popping and blasts from a
neighboring yard. His owner had just put the other family dog
inside and was heading back out for the husky, when the dog’s’s
flight impulse kicked in. The last thing the owner saw was the
south end of the husky heading north over the fence.
Kitsap Humane Society Executive Director Eric Stevens was
“surprised when a beautiful red husky dog showed up at our back
door. … As soon as I opened the door, he came darting into the
The dog, panting heavily, made himself at home in Stevens’
kitchen and had no inclination to leave. Luckily, he had current
identification on his dog tags, so Stevens was able to reunite him
with his family, who were “relieved and overjoyed.”
Unfortunately, not all pets frightened by fireworks are so
lucky. In the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July, more lost pets
end up at the Kitsap Humane Society than any other time of year,
according to KHS Spokeswoman Kelly Michaels.
Michaels has the following tips to keep your pets safe:
* Make sure your dog or cat has current ID on his or her collar,
and make sure the collar fits properly (no more than two fingers
should fit underneath for dogs). Cats should wear safety collars
that will pop off or stretch if they get caught on something.
* Keep animals inside the house during festivities. If people will
be coming and going, shut your pet in the bedroom. Close widows,
shades and curtains, so they will feel more secure.
* Muffle the sound of fireworks by turning on the TV, radio or a
* Sit with a very anxious pet. Distract them with play and their
If a pet is lost:
* Do not delay. Start looking for them as soon as possible.
* Visit the Kitsap Humane Society daily if possible to look for
your pet. “Sometimes it may take several days before a lost pet is
brought into the shelter, so keep coming back,” Michaels said.
* Visit the humane society online,
kitsap-humane.org/looking-lost-pet and follow the steps, including
calling the KHS lost pets hotline, (360) 692-6977, ext. 2. Also
check with Kitsap Lost
Pets, http://www.kitsaplostpets.org/, a lost-and-found animal
site, hosted by PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap. KHS and
PAWS partner on reuniting pets with their families.
Now through July 8, it’s Red, White & Meow! at the humane
society. Adoption fees will be 50 percent off for 10 dynamite cats
“with extra spark.” “They each have their own
unique personalities,” Michaels said. Visit kitsap-humane.org/red-white-and-meow
for a list of these cats.
On July 13, the humane society will host its annual PetsWalk
fundraiser. Registration starts at 8 a.m., with 1 K and 5 K walks
starting at 9:30 a.m. A costume contest, behavior tip clinic, dog
races and pet tricks are all part of the fun. The entry fee is by
donation. Raise at least $35 in pledges to get T-shirt. For
information and to register, visit http://www.kitsap-humane.org/petswalk-2013
or call (360) 692-6977.
A year ago Tracy Delp was at the end of her rope, or so it
seemed. The 47-year-old Port Orchard woman had pledged to
ride horseback across the country to raise awareness and
funding for cancer, which had claimed her mother and others she
loved, including animals. She and her riding partner Dan Shanafelt
set out from the Pacific Coast on their Coast2Coast for Cancer
ride on Mother’s Day 2011, but somewhere near the border between
Washington and Idaho, Dan had a change of heart and turned
The last time I wrote about Delp, she had trailered her team of
horses (and one mule)
back to Washington to regroup, blindly determined not to
abandon her goal.
Today, lo and behold, there comes in a Google alert news that Delp
made it to Iowa, more than halfway to her destination:
Delaware’s shoreline. Now riding with a trimmed down team of one
woman, one horse and a plucky dog named Ursa, Delp has improvised
daily and leaned heavily on the kindness of strangers to leapfrog
team and trailer across the Western and Central United States.
“I’ve done it every which way to Sunday,” she said. “I’ve handed
my keys to complete strangers.”
The Rocky Mountains were her first big challenge. Delp set out late
last fall (almost winter really), hurrying from the point she left
off to make the crossing.
“I was told there is no way. People told me I was crazy,” she
It wouldn’t have been the first time.
Delp and company took 10 days to get through the mountains. “The
next day, it snowed like a banshee,” she said.
Delp returned home shortly before Thanksgiving to wait out the
winter and resumed her journey again in mid-April. Wouldn’t you
know she picked a summer of record-setting heat and drought?
Her MO has been to start near dawn and knock off around noon.
Innovation, animal instinct and sheer luck have all been required
to keep the team from overheating. Ursa, it turns out can find
water where there appears to be none.
“You play the beat-the-heat game. Some days you win. Some days
you lose,” she said.
The heat bred crazy lightning and thunderstorms.
Delp has gotten so used to being outdoors that she almost feels
claustrophobic inside a building. She’s gained a fine appreciation
for the sheer size of this country and just how much of it is
empty, or rather open landscape.
“There’s a whole lot of nowhere,” Delp said. “My idea of nowhere
is a lot different than it used to be.”
Obstacles large and small present themselves daily, not if but
when. Most recently the horse, Sierra, stepped on her cell phone.
It still worked, but then she got caught in a rainstorm. Water
leaked through the cracks and killed the faithful device, which had
to be replaced.
Somehow, money for supplies, gas to the next town, a place to
stay fall into Delp’s lap just when she needs them. Some of the
funding for the trip comes from her website, which allows
donors to choose whether they want to give to partner
organizations, one that raises money for animals with cancer, one
for people. Another option is to sponsor supplies and other costs
of the ride.
Last August, Delp was in the running for a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh
grant. The corporate take on crowd funding allowed supporters of
micro-causes to vote, advancing programs and projects like Delp’s
ride. Projects in various categories earned grants awarded monthly
to those with the most votes. Coast2Coast for Cancer made it to
31st place, but Delp did not win a prize.
Often, people along the route will simply step up to fill a
need. Like the woman who offered to keep the horse as Delp hauled
back to Washington last week on an emergency trip to tend to one of
her dogs being cared for at home, that “ironically,” as Delp says,
came down with cancer.
Delp expected to have to put the dog down, but 14-year-old Duke
rallied at her arrival. “I’m checking in with him, and he’s not
ready,” said Delp, who makes a living as an “animal
On Thursday, I spoke to Delp, who was driving her truck,
decorated with sponsor decals, through Colorado on her way back to
Iowa. Duke was happily gazing at the scenery go by. That’s right;
Delp will now bring her aging dog, who is ailing with cancer along
on the journey.
She hasn’t quite figured out what she will do with Duke while
she rides, but Delp is undaunted. She’s pondering how to fix up a
wagon in which he can ride comfortably. Alternately, she’ll find a
daily dog sitter. One way or another, she and her animals will roll
with whatever the road brings their way.
“Cancer is not something you can ever plan for,” she said. “Now,
here we are. This is an adventure.”
Update on Friday: Duke died on Thursday night, just a few hours
after my interview with Delp. And the journey continues.
We (and by “we” I mean reporter Ed Friedrich, but he handed this
assignment off to me) recently received a copy of “Port Orchard” a
pictorial history of the town by the same name, by the Claudia Hunt
and George Willock of the Kitsap County Historical Society.
The book is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America”
series. According to a press release from the company, based in
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, “Our mission is to make history
accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the
heritage of America’s people and places.”
Willock and Hunt, both history buffs, have deep roots in Kitsap
County. Hunt’s family came to Bremerton in 1918. She serves on the
historical society’s board of trustees and historical sites
committee. Hunt, retired from the shipyard, recently designed the
Old Town Silverdale Historic Sites Tour to benefit the Clear Creek
Willock is a fourth generation Kitsap County resident and
retired state employee with a background in business writing. He
serves on the board and volunteers for many museum projects.
The book features historical society photos starting with 1988,
two years after the town of Sidney (now Port Orchard), was founded.
In its early days, the town had a pottery works, shingle mill and
saw mill, as well as a wharf for “Mosquito Fleet” boats that were
the primary means of transportation.
Fast forward to the 1940s, and this picture, showing local youth
diving like lemmings into the 50-degree waters of Sinclair Inlet …
just ’cause. Kids still do this (so do adults during the Olalla
Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day … just ’cause).
Before Fathoms O’ Fun, the town celebrated with something calls
“Days of 49,” popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Townsfolk
dressed up in wild west garb and got pretty wild and crazy from
what I’ve heard. “The name actually had no connection with Port
Orchard. Celebration founders chose it simply because no other town
had claimed it,” the book states. … Kind of like a domain name.
My thoughts: Port Orchard, where we celebrate by default.
Because “Days of 47″ was taken … Makes “Fathoms O’ Fun” sound
Here’s a picture of a parade float from 1950. The antique fire
truck was purported by participants to be the first fire engine in
Port Orchard not powered by horses.
My thoughts: Looks like it could use a horse or two or three.
And a suggested caption: Now you see why we need that fire
Here’s my favorite, a picture of donkey basketball at the old
The sport was popular with everyone but the janitors. It spawned
a special line of horseshoes, Air Wilburs. Also this explain why
they needed a new high school.
Go ahead Bremerton, laugh. Just wait until Arcadia Publishing
and the Kitsap County Historical Society get ahold of you.
“Port Orchard” is available for $21.99 at local retailers,
online bookstores and through Arcadia Publishing,
www.arcadiapublishing.com; (888) 313-2665.