Now that it’s running its own Animal Services Program, the city of Kirkland wanted to host a fun community event to encourage pet health and safety.
The city’s first ever Pet-a-Palooza was held on July 13 at Juanita Beach Park, coinciding with the Juanita Farmer’s Market.
Participants enjoyed a puppy parade, took pictures at the pet photo booth and interacted with many local animal businesses, from Invisible Fence and dog treats bakery Puddles Barkery, to Denny’s Pet World and local pet sitting and dog walking company Loving Paws & Pets.
Kirkland animal control officer Jennifer Matison, Police Chief Cherie Harris and City Council member Penny Sweet gave prizes to the winners of the “cutest pet” contest, including a bearded dragon named Ruby.
Matison said she was happy with the turnout and plans to host the event every year. She’s often out in Kirkland’s parks, talking to people about pet licensing, leash laws and other issues. Kirkland has two off-leash dog areas: Jasper’s Dog Park and Edith Moulton Park, which is re-opening July 21.
Matison was hired in September 2017, almost a year ago. Her animal control duties include helping to return lost pets and providing enforcement and education for domestic animal concerns in the Kirkland community.
Kirkland launched its animal services program in January after ending its contract with Regional Animal Services of King County. The program is funded through pet licensing fees.
“I really wanted to bring together the pet community in Kirkland, and get the word out for the new animal services program,” Matison said of the idea to do a Pet-a-Palooza. “Speaking directly to people helps build that community-type feeling and a positive perspective [of animal control].”