You’ve found a baby bird … now what?

It’s happening all around the city. Our feathered friends are busy raising their young, and you may very well encounter a baby bird out of the nest that may — or may not — need a helping hand. But how do you know if you should help?

Check out this handy flowchart to help you determine if you should help that baby bird or leave it be. And remember — if you’re in Seattle and you see an animal in distress, call the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-PETS (7387). Visit us online at for more information.

It’s a guinea pig invasion!

It was guinea pigs galore on Tuesday, when nearly 100 guinea piggies arrived at Seattle Animal Shelter.

It started about three years ago with one pair of guinea pigs – a male and female. In time, it became an unimaginable 250 guinea pigs, all in one couple’s  Eastern Oregon home. The couple surrendered all the animals and we’ve been working with the Blue Mountain Humane Society in Walla Walla to help transfer many of the guinea pigs to find homes in Western Washington.

The Seattle Animal Shelter on Tuesday served as a transport hub by accepting nearly 100 guinea pigs, which were then transferred to other animal welfare organizations in the area. Local NBC-affiliate KING 5 was on the scene for the guinea pigs’ arrival, and Animal Care Manager Tracy Bahrakis was able to provide helpful information:

  • Guinea pigs can quickly reproduce.
  • Spaying and neutering is for more than just cats and dogs – yes, guinea pigs can be neutered.
  • When spaying and neutering is not an option, guinea pigs should be separated by gender.
  • If you find yourself with a growing critter (or any other animal) population, reach out to your local animal shelter for help before becoming overwhelmed.
  • When considering adding a critter to your family, opt to adopt from your local animal shelter.

We’re happy to have been able to partner with Blue Mountain Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations to help these animals in need.

Seattle Animal Shelter conducting emphasis patrols on saltwater beaches

Spring is blossoming and hatching in Seattle, and now is a particularly important time to ensure that immature wildlife have their best opportunity to flourish in the Northwest. Because of this, the Seattle Animal Shelter will be conducting emphasis patrols on all saltwater beaches in the city.

Dogs are not allowed on any of Seattle’s public saltwater beaches, whether leashed or unleashed. This law helps to protect the fragile ecosystem along our shorelines. Marine mammals, such as seal pups who are typically born in April, use the city’s beaches to rest and warm themselves. Shore birds also frequent our beaches. Wildlife that interact with dogs are less likely to reach adulthood.

Uniformed animal services officers will be patrolling city parks with a focus on saltwater beaches and may issue citations to violators.

If you would like to report Seattle beaches where dogs are frequently seen, please submit a service request at You can also contact the shelter directly by calling 206-386-PETS (7387) or by visiting

A happy reunion, “Haku” goes home

Haku went missing in late January 2017 and was reunited with his owner at the Seattle Animal Shelter.

The greying black lab was panting and wagging his tail furiously – Haku had just seen Rick Osterhout, and he knew he was going home.

In 2016, the Seattle Animal Shelter reunited 493 dogs with their owners. Haku was one of the first in 2017.

On Friday, Jan. 28, Haku went missing when he snuck out through Osterhout’s back door. Osterhout posted Haku’s photo on multiple websites, including his neighborhood watch in Ravenna.

“A lost dog in an urban setting is really tough because he’s a dark color and it’s dark outside at night,” said Osterhout.

Haku was one of five dogs in the Osterhout family. Sadly, in January the family had to put down three of their dogs due to old age, and losing Haku would have been devastating. As part of his search for Haku, Osterhout checked the SAS “Found Pets at the Shelter” webpage and saw that field officers had picked up a male black lab mix in the Ravenna area.

“I saw the area and his description and knew it was Haku,” said Osterhout.

When the shelter lobby opened at noon the next day, Osterhout was there. He walked through the dog kennels and couldn’t mistake Haku’s excited bark. From the dog’s expression, Osterhout knew Haku was ready to go home.

Osterhout said he and his wife bought a motorhome specifically for their five dogs to take on travel adventures, and he is happy Haku will be able to enjoy these trips again.

“My wife would signal, ‘ready!’ and we would let the door open for all the dogs to run out at once,” said Osterhout. “They were some of my best memories.”

We’re thrilled to have helped reunite the Osterhouts with their beloved Haku, and want to help others get their happy endings. If you’ve lost a pet in or near the Seattle area, list your pet in our Lost and Found Database, and see the found animals we currently have at the shelter. Visit the Lost Pets section of our website for more information and resources.

For more information: