Ruby the bearded dragon meets vendors at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza event on July 13. She later went on to win one of the “cutest pet” awards. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Ruby the bearded dragon meets vendors at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza event on July 13. She later went on to win one of the “cutest pet” awards. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland hosts inaugural Pet-a-Palooza

Community event encouraged pet health and safety with fun activities.

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].”

To reach Matison, call 855-449-7387 (PETS) or email animalcontrol@kirklandwa.gov.

Kirkland’s Animal Control Officer Jennifer Matison talks to residents at Pet-a-Palooza at Juanita Beach Park. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland’s Animal Control Officer Jennifer Matison talks to residents at Pet-a-Palooza at Juanita Beach Park. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Pomeranian-Australian Shepherd mix Tuni was one of the winners of the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Pomeranian-Australian Shepherd mix Tuni was one of the winners of the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

A dog mascot from Kirkland Green Trip meets a local family at Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

A dog mascot from Kirkland Green Trip meets a local family at Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Many pets — mostly dogs — entered the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Many pets — mostly dogs — entered the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dario Karameto, 6, plays a game meant to educate about pet waste at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dario Karameto, 6, plays a game meant to educate about pet waste at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Loving Pets & Paws owner Brea Post (right) smiles with Ruby the bearded dragon, lead pet sitter Lauren Holmes and her daughter and “pet sitter in training” Julia Post at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Loving Pets & Paws owner Brea Post (right) smiles with Ruby the bearded dragon, lead pet sitter Lauren Holmes and her daughter and “pet sitter in training” Julia Post at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dogs take a break from the sun at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Dogs take a break from the sun at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland Animal Control Officer Jennifer Matison, Police Chief Cherie Harris and City Council member Penny Sweet give a prize to one of the winners of the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kirkland Animal Control Officer Jennifer Matison, Police Chief Cherie Harris and City Council member Penny Sweet give a prize to one of the winners of the “cutest pet” contest at Kirkland’s Pet-a-Palooza. Katie Metzger/staff photo

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