Sick, injured or abandoned, animals get help they need

South Sound Critter Care near Maple Valley seeks support to continue to care for creatures

Support for South Sound Critter Care has poured in during the past year from all corners.

That will be crucial during the coming months as veterinarian Jan White and veterinarian technician Tigger Birch prepare for thousands of creatures to come into the nonprofit.

SSCC, located off 216th Street Southeast not far from Covington-Lake Sawyer Road, will take in birds, kittens, raccoons, squirrels and more throughout the late spring and summer.

White, who operates SSCC on the lower level of the building which also houses her veterinarian practice, worked in wildlife rehabilitation for years while Birch previously volunteered with PAWS. There is 1,800 square feet of space there for the rehab center. The nonprofit has operated since 2010.

Since last year, when they took in more than 1,600 wild animals and hundreds of kittens, SSCC received thousands of dollars in grants to upgrade the rehab facility. White said they expect at least 2,000 sick, injured and abandoned creatures this year. Already they’ve taken in turtles and ducklings, for example.

State Fish and Game gave South Sound Critter Care a $10,000 grant which was used to rip out carpet and replace it with flooring which is easier to clean, White said.

Then the Puyallup Tribe of Indians gave SSCC a little more than $7,000 which was used to replace the washer and dryer in the rehab center as well as build fencing. In addition, the Nisqually Indian Tribe donated $5,000 to help care for and feed animals, which covers about half of the annual food bill, Birch said.

“We have to spend thousands of dollars in advance before the animals even get here for formulas for the specific animals … which is not cheap,” White said. “We’re trying to set it up so people come directly into the wildlife center instead of the veterinary hospital office so they can have direct access to the people who can help them.”

White added that the support from the Native American community has been tremendous in the past year and greatly appreciated.

Beyond that, White said, there is also now an office and an exam room as well as a website,

Another first this year for the nonprofit, White said, is a fundraiser which the public is invited to set for 1-4 p.m., Sunday, May 5, at the Greater Maple Valley Community Center.

Dubbed the Baby Shower, it will be an opportunity for community members to learn more about South Sound Critter Care and wild animal rehabilitation, hear speakers such as Tim Brown — who is known as the eagle whisperer — from Fish and Game as well as Chris Anderson from the city of Auburn. Anderson will talk about Auburn’s environmental restoration projects. In addition, Meg Lumin from Happy Valley Bats will be on hand to talk about her work in bat conservation.

“There will also be a kids activity table with stuff like building bird houses,” Birch said. “We’ve got a freebie gift bag for the first 100 people in the door.”

White said a volunteer will be at the door along with collection barrels for items that inspired the baby shower theme. Those who attend can drop off dry or wet puppy and kitten food, paper towels which are used for bird nests — SSCC has a federal wildlife license to care for birds — and sandwich bags.

There will be an auction, as well, with a wide variety of items available ranging from tickets to the Paul McCartney show set for July 19 at Safeco Field to date nights and a whole array of things.

All of the proceeds would go to South Sound Critter Care because the nonprofit is staffed by volunteers, Birch said.

Beyond that, though, the money raised would also help Birch and White build toward a larger, long-term vision for SSCC.

“We’re starting our five-year plan to find another piece of land for a permanent site,” White said. “Eventually we’ll have the rehab center here … then a nature center for the kids where people can come and do activities with their families. We want to do the whole thing. We want to be one more reason why people move to this area.”

Referrals for animals pick up mid-summer and there are some animals they can’t take in such as deer fawn or eagles because of space limitations. Other vets as well as animal rehab centers will send well-intentioned souls who have found creatures in need of care to SSCC in addition to the people who find the nonprofit through Washington Fish and Game’s website.

Finding a piece of property large enough — between 15 and 20 acres — for eagles, deer fawn and other animals requiring more space is critical. Birch and White hope to build on the support they’ve already received from the community.

“That would allow for longer term care,” Birch said. “And we want to stay local, Covington, Maple Valley, Black Diamond.”

For information, contact South Sound Critter Care at 360-886-8000.

Reach Assistant Editor Kris Hill at or 425-432-1209 ext. 5054.