FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - King County's new animal control plan starts Thursday. The county is contracting with cities to provide animal services. But the city of Federal Way thinks by hiring its own one man for the job can do more than the county could and save money.
Today was Officer Scott Eatchel's first day on the job, as Federal Way's sole animal control officer. Rather than go round and round with King County Animal Control, Federal Way is going its own way with its own officer.
First stop, the dog park where not all dogs play nice.
"People in this park bring bully dogs in. We're gonna come check it out," says Eatchel.
This is unfamiliar territory for Eatchel. He's been an animal control officer for five years, but in Utah. New to the area, he's still learning the ropes and his way around as Federal Way's lone ranger.
"It's going good right now, but it's a little overwhelming," admits Eatchel.
Eatchel is a welcome presence at the local dog park.
"To see him here at French Lake is great because we've never seen anyone from King County," says dog owner Trish Largen.
But this job is no walk in the dog park. There are about 42,000 pets in the city of Federal Way. So while it may be Eatchel's first day on the job, his biggest challenge comes on the 4th of July. Pets and pyrotechnics don't always mix.
"Typically you'll see a number of animals that'll be brought in stray," said Eatchel who knows he'll have his hands full. "Just the fact this is our debut weekend, I'm not exactly sure what the call load is going to be like."
Federal Way's dog catcher is officially on the prowl Thursday. Burien will also provide its own animal services. Federal Way has set up a local pet hotline at (253) 835-PETS. A door-to-door pet licensing campaign kicks off in the fall.