A warning for city residents: Donating to a fund that goes nowhere - KMOV.com

A warning for city residents: Donating to a fund that goes nowhere

A News 4 viewer claims the City of St. Louis is deceiving citizens by asking for money it no longer needs.

The city got out of the animal shelter business, but it's still accepting donations to support it.

News 4's Maggie Crane went to the mayor for answers.

Private non-profit Stray Rescue took over where the city left off when the city could no longer afford to care for unwanted pets.  But Stray Rescue is not seeing a dime of the donations slated for city animals.

"You're asking customers -- city residents -- to donate to a fund that goes nowhere," News 4's Maggie Crane says.

"Yeah, and that's the exact same question my wife asked me when she opened our bill this year," Mayor Francis Slay says.

So apparently someone's on it.  And a sharp-eyed viewer is too.

Check out the new, single water and trash bill put out by the city dated September 30th -- two months after the city decided to stop sheltering unwanted pets.  There is still a line where you can donate to the now-irrelevant "Animal House Fund."

Mayor Slay says the ordinance for the "Animal House Fund" was created more than seven years ago in hopes of raising $1 Million dollars to build a new home for homeless cats and dogs.

But that never happened.  Now, about $230,000 sits in the account -- never touched, never spent, but still funded by your donations.

"Nothing improper has been done with the funds," Mayor Slay says.

"But do you think it's misleading?" Crane asks.

"Well of course, yeah, it certainly is misleading to think that this isnot in existance anymore," Mayor Slay says.

Randy Grimm runs Stray Rescue.  He says he donated to the "Animal House Fund" for years.

"If you're like me, you want it to go to help the animals and you want it to go to something concrete," Grimm says.  "I mean, is Stray Rescue all of those things?  Yeah, I think we are."

Mayor Slay says he'd consider donating the fund intended for a city shelter to Stray Rescue so long as the ordinance would allow.  If the donated dollars don't wind up at Stray Rescue, or if that's not possible, the mayor says the city will look into refunding taxpayers.

It's now up to the Board of Aldermen to end the ordinance it created and take it off your water and trash bill.

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