Nov. 23 Update:
Des Moines Animal Control Officer Jan Magnuson informs us that 'Punkin" has found a new 'forever' home but is now known as 'Buddy."

But there are plenty of other cats and dogs waiting for homes this holiday season. Check with Magnuson, Burien CARES or the regional King County Animal Control Services.

Here's the original post:

Des Moines Animal Control Officer Jan Magnuson is looking for a home before Thanksgiving for a stray cat found in the North Hill area;

Here’s what she emailed us:

This cute guy we have named "Punkin" needs a home before Thanksgiving! He was found as a stray on North Hill and never claimed.

He is VERY friendly and wants to rub his head on you and be petted and held (I had a hard time getting a pic of him, as every time I put up the camera to take a pic he kept rubbing on the camera!)

He is a young adult, around a year of age or less, and is very healthy and happy. He has now been vet checked, groomed, neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped, so he is ready to go into his new home for the holidays!

Update: ‘Punkin’  changes name; finds a home for Thanksgiving
Photo credit: 
Photo by Jan Magnuson

This is ‘Punkin,’ looking for a home before Thanksgiving.

Debra George from the nonprofit group that is now handling Burien's animal control services reports the runaway pit bull involved in Thursday's biting incident has been found.

George from Burien CARES said the dog showed up at the back door of its owners Sunday night. The owners live in the 15600 block of Maplewild Avenue Southwest. The home is about four blocks from the 15900 block of 25th Avenue Southwest where it was spotted about 9 p.m. Sunday night.

George reported the pit bull has been turned over to CARES for treatment and and a required 10-day quarantine.
George reported the dog still had a taser dart in it when it returned home.

In the first media interview with former Burien mayor Sally Nelson, Nelson told the Times/News Sunday night that the dogs came after her with "a vengeance."

Here's our coverage from Sunday night with the first media interview with Nelson:

The case of a possibly dangerous pit bull running loose in Burien illustrates the frustrations of a couple of new Burien residents trying to be good citizens.


Swanson’s Nursery is once again home to reindeer Blitzer and Dasher, who will be staying at the nursery until Christmas.

This is the eighth year of the Reindeer Festival and each year they attract hundreds of kids, said retail manager, Leslie Bruckner.

“They love it here because we spoil them,” she said. “And it’s great for kids. How often do they get to see a real reindeer up close?”

Male reindeer lose their antlers in early fall meaning that Blitzen and Dasher, who still have their large antlers, are both female.

For the next two weekends, Santa will visit the nursery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and a third reindeer will be brought in to stand for photos for this event. While Blitzen and Dasher are people-friendly, the third reindeer has been specially trained to stand still for hours at a time, Bruckner said.

“Kids get to take pictures with Santa and pet the reindeer and we”ll have cider and cookies,” Bruckner said. “It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit.”

Also visiting this year are Curly, the curious camel and his companion, Moe, the miniature donkey.

Bruckner said that the animals are fun for kids and good for business.

Blitzen and Dasher visit Swanson’s Nursery
Photo credit: 
Photo by Anne-Marije Rook

Two Chilean flamingos have hatched at Woodland Park Zoo, marking the second successful breeding season for the species. The first chick hatched Oct. 3 followed by the second hatching on Oct. 9.

Both chicks are in the flamingo exhibit under the care of their parents, who feed them “crop milk,” a dark red secretion produced in their upper digestive tract. The substance is nutritionally similar to milk that is produced by mammals.

The chicks leave their nest about three to five days after hatching but remain in close proximity to their parents for feedings and brooding.

Three more eggs are expected to hatch later in the month, according to a Woodland Park Zoo press release.

Last year’s flock produced three chicks, which were hand-raised by the zoo staff before being introduced to the colony.

Flamingo chicks hatch with a whitish-gray down and can acquire extensive pink feathering that can be mixed with gray-brown contour feathers at about 1 year of age. Juveniles usually have full pink feathering by 2 to 3 years of age.

Flamingos hatch at Woodland Park Zoo
Photo credit: 
Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

One of two new flamingo chicks feeds at the Woodland Park Zoo.

More than 1,300 endangered Oregon spotted frogs were released into the wild last week near Olympia with the help of the Woodland Park Zoo in an ongoing effort to re-establish their populations in Washington.

This year’s frog release is the most successful yet, with the number of frogs, average frog size and egg survival rates to adult frogs up from previous years’ captive rearing efforts, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Department senior research scientist Dr. Marc Hayes said in a Woodland Park Zoo press release.

“We continue to learn more every year as we work collaboratively to establish a self-sustaining population of frogs at Fort Lewis,” Hayes said in the press release.

The endangered frogs were collected from the wild as eggs by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists and placed at Woodland Park Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Northwest Trek and Cedar Creek Corrections Center for hatching and rearing as a “head start” to improve their chances of survival upon release back into the wild.

Zoo helps release record number of endangered frogs into wild
Photo credit: 
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

With the help of Woodland Park Zoo, more than 1,300 endangered Oregon spotted frogs were released into the wild near Olympia last week.

The Seattle Storm beat the Atlanta Dream Sept. 16 to sweep the WNBA Championships and bring home its second championship trophy. The Woodland Park Zoo is saluting the Storm and its fans with a weekend of discount admission.

The zoo will be offering half-price admission Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 to anyone who shows a ticket stub for any game of the conference finals or finals or who wears any Storm apparel, including jerseys, T-shirts and hats.

For more information, visit


The Association of Zoos & Aquariums has honored Woodland Park Zoo with the Exhibit Achievement Award for the zoo's Humboldt penguin exhibit, which opened in May 2009.

The prestigious award, equivalent to an Oscar in the zoo and aquarium industry according to a zoo press release, was presented this week at the Association of Zoos & Aquariums annual conference in Houston. This is the fifth time Woodland Park Zoo has won the award for best exhibit.

In a rare move by the association, the top award also went to a second institution, Oregon Zoo, for its Predators of the Serengeti.

The achievement award is presented by the association for outstanding dedication to conservation issues, construction of exhibit space and simulation of species' natural habitats.

Photo credit: 
Jennifer Svane/Woodland Park Zoo

A girl and a penguin see eye to eye at the Woodland Park Zoo's Humboldt penguin exhibit, which won the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Exhibit Achievement Award this week.

The Woodland Park Zoo is gearing up for its Fall Fecal Fest, the time of year when local gardeners and Zoo Doo loyalists scramble to purchase the coveted Zoo Doo or Bedspread.

According to the zoo, Zoo Doo is the most exotic and highly prized compost in the Pacific Northwest, composed of exotic species feces contributed by the its nonprimate herbivores. Zoo Doo is perfect for vegetables and annuals, according to a Woodland Park Zoo press release.

Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is like Zoo Doo but with higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust. It’s the perfect mulch for perennial beds and woody landscapes such as native gardens, rose beds, shrubs, tree rings or pathways, according to the press release.

Gardeners looking for a chance to purchase Zoo Doo or Bedspread can send in a postcard from Sept. 1 through Sept. 19.

Applicants can enter both the Zoo Doo and Bedspread drawings, but separate postcards are required. Postcards for Zoo Doo should be marked “Zoo Doo” and Bedspread postcards should be marked “B.S.”

Entry cards will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible. Only the winners will be contacted.

Zoo Doo high res Ryan Hawk.JPG
Photo credit: 
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Applications for Zoo Doo and Bedspread from the Woodland Park Zoo's Fall Fecal Fest will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 19.

On Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, two more Humboldt penguins hatched at Woodland Park Zoo, bringing the number of this year’s hatchlings to seven.

The chicks represent the first offspring between 18-year-old mother Cujo and 20-year-old father Oedipus. The parents are among the oldest penguins in the zoo’s colony and also the most genetically valued breeding pair at the zoo, according to a Woodland Park Zoo press release.

Both hatchlings are under the care of their parents and are off exhibit in a nesting burrow. Before the new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they will be pulled from the nest so keeper staff can condition the birds to approach staff for hand feeding and to allow close-up visual inspections.

To help get them accustomed to swimming, the chicks will have round-the-clock access to a shallow pool behind the scenes where they can practice floating and swimming in a more controlled and less crowded environment.

Penguin Chick Rachel Gray 8-10.JPG
See video
Photo credit: 
Rachel Gray/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo welcomed two new Humboldt penguin chicks Aug. 2 and Aug. 4.

Out of sight since the March 1 closure of the Woodland Park Zoo's popular Night Exhibit, sloths, bats, small anteaters and springhaas are now on display in the newly renovated Adaptations Building.

The zoo decided to close the energy-inefficient, 35-year-old Night Exhibit as part of an attempt to reduce it's annual expenses by $800,000 to $1 million. Closing the exhibit will save the zoo approximately $300,000 annually.

There was a large public outcry when the closure was announced. The Facebook group "Save the Woodland Park Nocturnal House" had approximately 25,000 members.

Nearly $40,000 was raised through private contributions and a $20,000 grant from the BNSF Foundation to help toward the long-term care of the handful of Night Exhibit animals that stayed at the zoo.

Sloth Ryan Hawk.JPG
Photo credit: 
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

A selection of animals, such as this sloth, from the Woodland Park Zoo's closed Night Exhibit are now back on display in the remodeled Adaptations Building.

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