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.
Kerris, the yellow lab who works at the Kitsap County
Courthouse, started the weekend early with a round of golf Friday
morning at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting.
Perhaps you remember the
story I did on Kerris in 2010. The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s
office brought her on as a courtroom therapy dog to put witnesses
at ease during difficult testimony, and generally to diffuse the
tension. Her handler is Keven Kelly, chief of District Municipal
The two were golfing for charity at the Kitsap Humane Society‘s Fore the
Animal’s golf tournament. This is the third year of the tournament,
which is notable for allowing animals to tag along.
I love imagining dogs in plaid knickers and spiked shoes,
wagging their little tails as they get ready to tee off. Alas, it
doesn’t work like that. The dogs pretty much just ride in golf
carts, slobber and shed.
There were 100 golfers and seven pooches signed up for the
tourney, said Rebecca Johnson, the Humane Society’s event
coordinator and executive assistant.
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.
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.
Because you know you have the cutest pet in the world, or at
least Kitsap County. …
SILVERDALE — There may be some soggy doggies at this year’s
PetsWALK from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Kitsap County
The weather is supposed to continue its November-like rain and
chill, but it was rainy last year, too, and that didn’t stop people
from signing up for the annual fundraiser for the Kitsap Humane
Society, according to spokeswoman Kristin Lauver.
Walkers and their furry companions have gathered pledges in days
leading up to the event. Participants alternately can sign up the
day of the walk beginning at 9 a.m. A $35 registration fee is
PetsWALKS promises fun for both animals and animal lovers, with 1K
and 5 K routes, a vendor fair, pet contests, demonstrations, a
microchip clinic ($30), and adoptable pets.
Stick around for the afternoon costume contest and talent show.
All money raised goes toward the care of local animals in need.
Participants who raise at least $50 will get a commemorative
Go to yourmedia.kitsapsun.com after PetsWALK to upload photographs
of your pet. If enough are submitted the Kitsap Sun will create a
The humane society is located at 9167 Dickey Road NW in Silverdale;
The Kitsap Humane Society is temporarily waiving adoption fees
on cats older than one year of age, during a “Feline Frenzy” event
this weekend. The offer, good through Sunday, is intended to boost
adoptions in response to an unexplained influx of cats.
As many as 10 cats a day are being brought into the shelter. The
rate in May has been 20 percent higher than the same time last
year, leaving the shelter with limited kennel space.
“We’re not sure yet why there’s been such an increase, but it’s
been a trend for most of the year,” said Director of Shelter
Medicine Dr. Jen Stonequist. “We don’t expect cat intakes to slow
down anytime soon and we’re looking at the possibility of having a
full shelter throughout the summer.”
KHS encourages adopters to make a donation to help offset its
costs. The shelter takes in any homeless animal in need for any
Humane Society officials are eager to move forward, but an
independent audit due out and available for public consumption
within the next couple of months will answer some
lingering questions about how the agency got in such
The board has been criticized for leaving
donors, volunteers and staff out of the loop. According to new
board President Rosemary Shaw and
Interim Executive Eric Stevens, the board and management are
making efforts to
mend fences and reconnect with all of those groups.
KHS will host an information session for prospective volunteers
from 6-7 p.m. Thursday in the Training Center. Topics to be covered
include what each department does, what the current volunteer
opportunities are and how to get started. Volunteers must be at
least 13 years old and should be able to commit to at least eight
hours per month for six months. KHS is located at 9167 Dickey RD NW
in Silverdale (98383). For information, call (360) 692-6977.
The Kitsap Humane Society is hoping for a chance be one of 50
animal shelters that gets to compete for $100,000 made available by
But it depends on them getting enough votes…
So, if you’re interested in helping out, go to the website where
you can vote, just once each day, from now until midnight Eastern
time on April 15. The 50 contestants with the most votes will be
announced April 18.
So I’m working on this story for Wednesday about “Loose Ends”
from 2010, in which we follow up on stories run earlier in the
year. One is about this
MTV video shot in Bremerton (at Skateland roller rink), and
there’s this Port Orchard Police Department patrol cruiser in a
couple of shots. Way to muscle in on Bremerton’s turf, POPD. … I’m
just sayin’ …
In other Bremerton news, there is a dead dog in the parking lot
off Warren and 4th Street.
We were alerted to the canine carrion by reporter Tristan
Baurick, whose mother lives nearby. Tristan, formerly a freelancer
covering Banbridge Island, joined our staff at the end of November,
replacing Derek Sheppard, who went to make videos for Bastyr
University in Seattle. Six degrees of separation and all that
Tristan described the hapless animal as “post-apocalyptic.” Now
there’s a writer for you. “This dog has been there for a long time.
It’s kind of being picked apart. … It’s pretty disgusting,” he
said. Which reminds me of that old Loudon Wainwright song …
The dog did not appear to have been abused, Tristan said, just
ignored. To the Kitsap Humane Society’s credit, once Tristan
alerted them to the dog, they quickly agreed to remove the
Dennis has worked in conjunction with Seattle’s Feral Cat Project,
which offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. The theory of the
organization — and folks like Dennis — is that the neutered and
spayed cats returned to their home will stake our territory and so
prevent new strays from moving in.
No doubt stray cats are a problem. We used to have neighbors on
either side who fed them. Looking across the fence, I would see
hoards of mangy little faces peeking our suspiciously from under
the one neighbor’s deck. The smell of cat feces wafted our
direction, and I once found a deformed dead kitten in our kids’
One of the kittens that wandered into our yard eventually became
our family pet. After we decided to keep the little guy, however,
it took a lot of care to get him in shape. For one thing, he was so
covered in fleas that they were visibly crawling all over his face
and into his eyes. And yes, we did get him neutered.
If you have stray cats in your neighborhood, how have you dealt
with it? Has your approach, like the East Bremerton couple’s,
caused conflict? What do you think is the best way to handle the
problem of pet overpopulation — other than the obvious, everyone
spay and neuter their animals?