King County

OMBUDSMAN Amy Calderwood, Ombudsman - Director
401 Fifth Avenue, Suite 135


Seattle, WA 98104-1818
Phone: (206) 263-9242 V/TDD
Fax: (206) 296-0948

om budsma n (Q kingcounty .gov

September 28,2009
King County Animal Care and Control Employee (identity withheld) c/o Claire Davis Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5100 Seatte, WA 98104
Re: Ombudsman Case No. 2009-02150

Dear Employee:

We write to follow up on your letter dated August 14, 2009, sent to members of the King

County Council and the Ombudsman's Office. In that letter, you allege serious continuing
problems with King County Animal Care and Control (KCACC), and that you have witnessed inhumane conditions at the KCACC shelters which you claim violate neglect and

cruelty laws, and constitute an abuse of authority and a gross waste of public funds. As
explained below, and after consultation with you, the Ombudsman's Office is closing its

review of this matter at this time without prejudice to your abilty to fie a new complaint
involving the same or related subject matter at a later time.

During the week of August 17, you met with me, Senior Deputy Ombudsman Lynn Anders,

and your liaison Claire Davis. It is our understanding that you and Ms. Davis have not
established an attorney/client relationship. However, we are sending this letter to you

through Ms. Davis at your and Ms. Davis' request.
In our meeting you disclosed your identity to us, and we have verified your employment with King County. We are keeping your identity confidential at your request and because of your belief that you would likely suffer serious reprisals including possible harm to your person and property if your managers and colleagues knew that you reported improper governmental action.

We note that the Whistleblower Protection Code ("the Code"), KCC 3.42, prohibits county employees from retaliating against another employee for making a good faith report of

improper governmental action. Retaliation is broadly defined, and a county employee who
retaliates, or attempts or threatens to retaliate, is subject to discipline up to termination. KCC 3.42.030(G). The Ombudsman may fine the department in which the retaliation occurred up to $10,000. KCC 3.42.060(F)(3)(e).

King County Employee September 28, 2009 Page 2 of 2

To date, we have made no determination as to whether your allegations, if true, would constitute "improper governmental action" under the Code, and we have made no factual findings. We also have no reason to believe that you did not make your allegations in good

faith. In accord with KCC 3.42.057(8) & (C), we are closing our review at this time for the
following reasons:

· Many of your allegations involve the same issues that were investigated exhaustively
in 2008 by other independent investigators, including noted experts in animal control practices from the University of California, Davis, and by animal care and control

consultant Nathan Winograd. We note that you allege that many of the issues
identified in these reports have not been addressed to date, and that in your view an inquiry into these allegations thus may be appropriate at a future date.

. Some of your allegations involve issues that we expect to be addressed in an audit
that we expect to be released this fall by the King County Auditor.

. Changes to Kent shelter operations in response to budgetary constraints, and in
preparation for possible severe flooding in the Kent Valley this winter may make some of your allegations moot or difficult to investigate at this time. . The election of a new King County Executive in November may result in a policy review of KCACC that could render an Ombudsman investigation of your allegations

It is our understanding through Ms. Davis that, after discussing the issues with us in depth and taking time to consider the available options, you agree that an Ombudsman investigation is not appropriate at this time for the reasons stated above, and because of your concerns that a full investigation may compromise your confidentiality and lead to serious reprisals. Ms. Davis has also indicated to us your intention to renew your complaint if you believe that the above-listed considerations do not address your concerns.

We note that although we are now closing our review of this matter, you are stil protected by the Code should you experience retaliation as a result of your report.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our offce. We are available to examine any new allegations or reexamine the issues you have presented if circumstances change to make such an inquiry appropriate. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss this matter further.



For Amy Calderwood, King County Ombudsman,

Jonathan T. Stier Senior Deputy Ombudsman

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