Building a Shelter: 1972-1982 – The Scoop


As we celebrate 50 years of the Seattle Animal Sheltere anniversary this year, we share some stories from its history.

In April 1972, the city council voted to create an animal control division with an annual budget of $214,000 and $92,356 taken from the city’s emergency fund. The Council also approved the issuance of bonds to finance the construction of a new animal sanctuary, which will open 10 years later and still operate at the same location in the Interbay district.

From 1972 to 1982, SAS operated the shelter formerly owned by the Seattle Humane Society at 601 Elliott Ave. W. The property was owned by Blackstock Lumber, which leased it to the city for $1,700 a month, or about $11,000 today.

The first Seattle Animal Shelter location.

The 1925 building posed challenges to modernizing the shelter and the location along the shore created similar issues with redevelopment. The city also did not think it could afford to buy the property from Blackstock.

At first, the city and King County had proposed a joint animal shelter located in Seattle. So the search for a new location was on – a search that would take South Park planners to Georgetown, SODO, South Lake Union and, finally, Interbay.

The effort was met with opposition from many neighborhood groups. Community councils across the city passed resolutions against the consolidation and against the siting of the facility in their neighborhoods.

A resident used a tape recording of dogs barking at the shelter to voice his opposition, prompting a strong rebuke from the acting manager who alleged the man had crept onto the property and agitated the dogs into barking .

The Seattle Animal Shelter today in the Interbay district.

When the new facility opened in 1982, it housed approximately 15,000 animals in the first year. Today, the shelter welcomes approximately 3,000 animals each year and operates more as a stopover than an end destination, placing over 90% of the animals it cares for into loving homes.

Help us provide for the needs of the animals in our care. You can help the animals at the Seattle Animal Shelter by making a donation the Animal Relief Fund and the Pet Population Control Fund.


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