St. Louis non-profit takes over operations of St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center facility
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -More than four years after an external audit recommended a change in leadership at St. Louis County’s lead animal shelter, change is officially in motion.
On Monday, the Animal Protective Adoption Center (APA) took control of the facility, selected after a St. Louis County RFP and application process.
“It can be very stressful being in a shelter environment,” said Sarah Javier, President and C.E.O. of APA. “As much as we try to make it comfy and homelike as possible, it’s just not. There are a lot of smells, lots of noises and lots of other animals. So we do everything we can to mitigate that stress.”
The APA celebrated 100 years serving the St. Louis County community this year and helped almost 5,000 pets get adopted in 2021 at its flagship Brentwood location on Hanley Road. The non-profit entered into a 5-year contract with the county, which will reimburse the APA for expenses incurred during its transition and operation. However, Javier said they plan to go above and beyond to offer the 175 dogs and cats at the shelter the best opportunities to get adopted.
“Today we started our foster program, which did not exist before,” she said. “We’ve already placed some dogs in foster homes to give them a break from the shelter. We’re also going to incorporate enrichment programming to make sure these animals stay engaged, stimulated and challenged. Whatever they need, we’ll make sure they have it.”
Javier said she’s participated in site visits over the last several months ahead of Monday’s takeover, so she knew what to expect when handed the keys. Conditions were dirty on the inside, she said, leaving staff and volunteers giving the entire facility a deep cleaning, along with help from a restoration company.
“We’re hopeful that maybe by Tuesday afternoon we can have the public in to start taking a look around,” she said. “But nothing is for sure yet, we have a lot of work to do.”
In 2018, as part of the external audit, the Missouri Department of Agriculture found the facility euthanized more than 1,000 dogs and cats in 2018, 25 percent of the pets it took in. The department also detailed incidents in which it claimed facility employees were requiring pet owners surrendering their animals to fill out paperwork indicating they agreed to their animal being euthanized, without knowing what they were signing.
Shortly thereafter, the facility stopped euthanizing animals. Javier said the APA will not euthanize an animal unless its quality of life is suffering or the animal is a danger to the community.
In addition to cleaning work on Monday, Javier said each of the facility’s dogs received multiple walks outside. She was unsure when the last time the dogs had been taken outside may have been.
To learn more about the dogs and cats at the facility hoping to be adopted, click here.
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