New director to take helm at troubled county animal care program

A new acting manager has been named to lead King County’s troubled Animal Care and Control program, which has come under harsh criticism for the crowded conditions at the county’s main shelter in Kent.

Wendy Keller, a 19-year veteran of county government, will replace Al Dams, who has been acting manager for nearly two years.

Dams has been named as the strategic planner and operational development manager for the county’s Dvision of Records and Licensing.

King County Councilman Dow Constantine, who has been at times an outspoken critic of the conditions at the Kent shelter, said he welcomed Keller’s appointment.

“It is my hope that she will act quickly to improve overall conditions in the shelters and ensure that each animal has the best chance to find a loving home,” Constantine said in a news release.

Keller, called a “seasoned project manager” by county officials, will oversee the county’s efforts to improve its animal care and control services and replace its aging and inadequate shelter in Kent. During her 19 years in county government, she has overseen complex facility design and construction projects, including the construction of the $200 million regional justice center in Kent.

For the past six years, Keller has served as the county’s project control officer.

County Executive Ron Sims said Dams has helped to bring “euthanasia rates to historic lows” during his tenure at the helm of the program.

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