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St. Louis to close Gasconade animal control facility

March 8, 2010 Politics/Policy, South City 4 Comments

The city’s animal control facility has been located at 2120 Gasconade St since 1941:

A week ago today the following announcement was made on Mayor Slay’s campaign website, mayorslay.com:

St. Louis has made remarkable progress over the past few years in becoming a more pet-friendly city. That has meant acting on our resolution to treat all animals, beloved pets and ferals, humanely.

Because of its age and obsolete design, the City’s Animal Control Center is no longer able to provide humane care for stray animals. After consultation with its staff, I have decided to close the facility by summer, at the latest.

Several years ago, the City first made the decision to replace the Animal Control Center. The plan – which I strongly supported – was to build a new facility, privately financed by animal lovers. Unfortunately, fund raising for Animal House has lagged.

I no longer believe we can wait for the economy to rebound and fundraising to improve for taking action. So, in the next few weeks, the City will issue an RFP or RFQ from non-profit animal shelters to take over the Center’s function. I am confident that one of the region’s many animal care organizations will give these pets the best possible chance to find new homes.

I have already spoken to the leaders of Animal House. While they have not raised enough money to build a new facility, they believe they have raised enough money to retrofit an existing building. Therefore, they plan to compete in the process.

Under the new system, City employees will continue to respond to complaints about abandoned or dangerous animals. However, once they have picked up the animals, the new entity will take care of the animals until permanent homes can be found for them.

The Health Department has studied various options and believes this sort of approach has worked well in other cities and will work well in St. Louis.

While we go through the competitive process of selecting a service provider, I have asked acting Health Director Pam Walker to focus as much of her time and energy as necessary to make sure the dogs and cats are treated well during the transition.

As an aside, I am deeply disturbed that such decisions are announced not through the city’s press release site but through his political campaign website. The City of St. Louis has issued no press releases in 2010 and the last one from the mayor’s office was released on December 1, 2009.  City business should be announced via the city system, campaign business via the campaign site.

Okay, on to the issue of the welfare of the animals.

I am a supporter of the fund raising effort, the Animal House Fund.  They day after the mayor made his announcement they issued the following statement (PDF):

Animal House Fund received news that the City of St. Louis would announce plans to outsource the management of an Animal Care Facility through an RFP selection process. Chairman of the Board, Ed Throop, has responded to the Mayor’s announcement in saying, “We have been made aware of the situation. It was our hope that the building project would be further along at this point, but we are still committed to building a better life for the City of St. Louis’ animals. We look forward to participating in the City’s RFP process and are confident we can make a positive impact.”

The organization, founded in 2003, and later taken over by Throop, was created to make a new location for an Animal Care Facility in the City possible, to reduce the number of strays, to give homeless and abandoned animals a better chance to find families, and to help St. Louis become a more pet -friendly city. The City’s current Animal Control Center, located at Gasconade and Highway 55, was constructed in 1941 and was intended for short-term use only – to catch or receive animals and dispose of them quickly. Animal House Fund has worked tirelessly over the years to form a partnership with the City, the animals and the residents, in furtherance of the organization’s vision.

Animal House Fund has the support of a strong board, dedicated volunteers and a passionate community of animal lovers. The organization will be an enthusiastic participant in the RFP process and is excited about continuing its work to find a greener solution in compassionate care for the City’s animals.

While the City’s announcement changes the original hope of constructing a new, state-of -the-art facility, it provides Animal House Fund with an opportunity to explore other options, including retro- fitting an existing building, which would reduce the required level of project funding and allow the organization to have a hand in bringing about, more quickly, a brighter future for animals in the City.

I hope the Animal House Fund is successful in their effort to provide good accommodations for animals in the City of St. Louis.

I want to learn more about the current 1941 building.  I have to wonder if the stone used was from the demolition of buildings for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

– Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. margien says:

    “The organization, founded in 2003, and later taken over by Throop …” I'm curious, wasn't this the cause Jim Shrewsbury championed?

     
  2. Patrick says:

    Steve, Is the building constructed of the granite cobblestone used for street pavement?

     
  3. TeddyFrank says:

    Hey Steve,
    Dunno what is was made of, but I do know that I was only supposed to be used for 2 years (originally built to dispose of WWII strays). I wrote an article on it almost a year ago. http://www.jetsongreen.com/2009/05/animal-house

    Frank

     
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