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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Whidbey Island, WA

Whidbey Island, which is part of Island County, Washington, is at the northern edge of Puget Sound, 30 miles north of Seattle. The island has over 58,000 residents and its largest city, Oak Harbor, has about 22,000 people.

The Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation (WAIF) handles animal sheltering for the island. WAIF contracts with Island County and the city of Oak Harbor to provide shelter services, although the contract payments do not cover the total cost for the services. WAIF, a non-profit, fund-raises for the remainder.

WAIF has a holding facility for strays in Oak Harbor. Unclaimed strays are transferred to WAIF’s main shelter in Coupeville, about 10 miles from Oak Harbor. The shelter has weekend hours on both Saturday and Sunday. WAIF also has a cat adoption center in Oak Harbor, and a “cat cottage” in Freeland, Washington. Construction is underway on a new shelter located on a 10-acre site, with completion anticipated this fall.

WAIF reports live release rates above 90% since 2005, with the exception of two years when it was at 89%. The live release rate for 2014 was 95%. In 2014, WAIF had intake of 841 animals, down from 903 in 2013. The shelter returned 75% of dogs to their owners in 2014 and 6% of cats, far above national averages in both categories.  Adoptions were 64% of live outcomes.

Whidbey Island is counted in the Running Totals as a 90% community.

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