New philosophy makes animal adoptions more successful

Regional Animal Services of King County has just adopted a new philosophy, along with several new policies and procedures, as part of the Humane Society’s Adopters Welcome program.

“This new program is challenging us to be more open-minded about adoptions,” said Nickie Ford, RASKC Animal Services Coordinator. “It has really made us take a step back and realize that on the whole, people love their animals and want to do the right thing.”

Adopters Welcome is a Humane Society of the United States philosophy that embraces community members, encourages them to adopt, and helps them and their pets succeed.

This program helps animals (and their prospective humans) by removing unnecessary barriers to their adoption. All of RASKC’s adoptable animals are color-coded as either Easy Going Green, Bashful Blue, or Rambunctious Red to provide guidance to those considering adoption.

“We want to make sure that adopters see us as a resource,” said Nickie. “We want them to feel comfortable being open and honest with us, and we want to help them in whatever way we can.”

Nearly nine of every 10 cats and dogs who come into the County’s care find a safe home. RASKC hopes the new Adopters Welcome philosophy will make these adoptions even more successful.

An example of how our best-run government is integrating the Adopters Welcome philosophy is illustrated in the following cat meet-and-greet improvements:

  • Customers do not need to fill out an application first in order to meet with cats.
  • Meet-and -greet volunteers and customers no longer need to wear gowns & gloves or wash hands between cats. (Please always make sure to visit with kittens first and sick cats last!)
  • Adopters will receive a refund if they return their animal within 90 days of adoption.
  • Signs about the new RASKC adoption colors have been posted in the volunteer room.
  • New adoption policies: No landlord checks required, No specific child restrictions, Customers can adopt an animal as a gift.

“We hope that these changes will help us to increase adoptions and improve our relationship with the community,” added Nickie.

There are adoption fees, but the fees cover everything necessary for a great start in a new home:

  • King County pet license (if applicable)
  • Microchipping (for cats and dogs)
  • Spay / neuter surgery
  • 30-day trial pet health insurance coverage from Trupanion
  • Initial vaccinations (including rabies if pet is over four months old)
  • Veterinary health exam
  • Collar
  • Carrier (for cats)
  • Leash (for dogs)

The adoption fees for cats is $30 for those six months of age and older, and $100 for kittens (younger than six months). For dogs, the fees range between $100 and $250.

King County’s adoption centers are located in Kent and Kirkland. The County also partners with the Covington Petco, Seattle Meowtropolitan, Reber Ranch, The Whole Cat and Kaboodle, and the Tukwila Petco. You can also view pet profiles online.

When Executive Constantine decided that King County would maintain regional animal services, he set the goal of making it one of the best agencies of its kind. The County’s save rate increased nearly 50 percent between 2006 and 2015, from 60 percent to a record-high 88 percent. Sharing the Executive’s concern for past performance, advocacy organizations continue to be part of the County’s solutions.

The County’s Pre-adoption Application form is on the RASKC web site. If you have questions about Adopters Welcome, reach out to Animal Services Coordinator Nickie Ford. For general questions, call the pet information line at 206-296-7387, or email, or