By: Sarah Javier, Executive Director | July 27, 2020
PRESS RELEASE – JULY 24, 2020
As millions of households face eviction or foreclosure, the APA is keeping pets and people together through fostering and resource support.
A nationwide eviction crisis is anticipated as enhanced unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums draw to a close in the coming week, with several million households possibly being displaced. In anticipation of this, the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA) is launching an expansion of their Pet Partners outreach program to help pets and families remain together, providing temporary fostering and resource support for families being evicted or losing their housing.
“Pets are family and we believe all members of the family should stay together,” said APA president and executive director Sarah Javier. “While housing instability is often a temporary situation for people, for pets who are often surrendered to a shelter or left behind, the situation is permanent. The APA is here to help.”
The APA launched the Pet Partners program in 2018 to provide resources and support to owned pets in vulnerable and under-resourced communities. In response to the anticipated eviction crisis, the APA will be expanding the Pet Partners program to include crisis housing support to individuals and families facing eviction or foreclosure in St. Louis County. Pets being cared for in this program will receive temporary fostering, food, vaccinations, and flea/tick/heartworm preventative at no cost to the pet owner, and once housing is secured, the pet and family will be reunited.
Families in need of this program should contact the APA at 314.645.4610 to learn more. Foster volunteers and donations are needed to help support this life-saving program. To complete a foster application or make a tax-deductible donation, please visit our website at apamo.org.
By: Sarah Javier, Executive Director | April 20, 2020
Even in the midst of a pandemic, inspirational stories of compassion and kindness abound – neighbors helping neighbors, signs of encouragement chalked on sidewalks, birthday parades through neighborhoods, uplifting messages of gratitude and hope written on the windows of hospital rooms, and so much more. It is within our nature to lift one another up, and together is the only way through this.
As Mr. Rogers taught us, always look for the helpers.
At the APA, we care deeply about animals. Sometimes caring about animals also means caring for their people, especially in moments like right now.
We were recently able to help Bluana and her family through a tough time. Like so many others, Bluana’s owner was laid off from his job due to COVID-19. Because Bluana is highly allergic to chicken and beef, she requires a special diet to remain healthy. Special diets can be expensive, and when facing a job loss and mounting expenses, prescription dog food can be out of reach. Bluana’s family stretched her dog food using cooked rice, but understood that was not sustainable, so with the help of people who care for them, they connected with the APA Pet Partners program for help.
The APA helped secure the dog food Bluana needed, and provided the family with a new collar, leash and bandana, as well. The entire family was grateful, including Bluana, who happily greeted our outreach coordinator, Savannah, and rolled over for belly rubs.
We are grateful we were able to connect with Bluana and her family. We understand that these are difficult times, and no matter what, we are here to help see one another through it. Nearly 100 years ago we made a commitment to help animals in need, and that commitment continues. We are the helpers, and the only way through this is together.
Since the stay-at-home order was issued for St. Louis, we have helped over 100 pets in crisis and their families. If you would like to help support our work during this time by giving to our COVID-19 relief fund, you can make a secure, online donation HERE.
By: Sarah Javier, Executive Director | March 31, 2020
Pets make our lives better. They bring joy and smiles, and in rough times, they bring us comfort and give our spirits a boost. At the APA, we are fortunate to see the impact pets have on others each and every day.
Before coming to the United States, Basant was scared of cats and dogs. Growing up, she never had pets. In her second year of school in St. Louis, her depression symptoms returned and she started seeing a psychiatrist. Basant started to like dogs and her psychiatrist agreed having a pet would help her depression. However, she wasn’t ready for a pet of her own and also learned her lease would not allow dogs. So, in 2017, she started fostering kittens. Basant wasn’t sure about cats and felt nervous when they would climb on her, but quickly got over that feeling, and it turned into pure excitement. “I loved them so much,” Basant said.
Basant fostered another litter before she had to stop because it wasn’t feasible with her roommates and space. Basant explained, “It was very hard on me staying away from cats, that’s when I started volunteering in the cat room at the APA.” After a while, she decided she was ready to adopt her first pet. Basant noticed a little orange kitten, teasing another kitten in his kennel. He was shy when she reached for him and hid. Basant was patient, carrying and petting him, and after a while he started purring like a machine. She adopted Carrot that day.
“He’s a very special boy, he has to greet me every morning and every afternoon when I get back home by jumping in my lap and licking my nose. He’s basically my family here,” said Basant. Carrot was found as a shy, stray kitten who was nervous of people. Both Basant and Carrot started out afraid of one another, but together have found love and family.
By: Sarah Javier, Executive Director | March 27, 2020
The APA has worked through numerous challenges during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our operations in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few short weeks ago. Essential staff are caring for the animals and we continue to meet our mission of bringing people and pets together through creative ways such as curbside adoptions, emergency fostering, online humane education, and videos. We know we must continue to adapt as this situation evolves. Fortunately, we have an incredible team and have been able to respond to every challenge with well-informed, decisive action.
A recommendation to limit “non-essential” or “elective” surgical procedures has been made by the U.S. Surgeon General. All health care professionals, including veterinarians, are to adopt strategies that will allow them to conserve PPE (personal protective equipment) as much as possible. The AVMA recently stated that veterinary practices can and should defer elective procedures to preserve medical supplies. While spay and neuter is important, it is considered a non-emergency procedure. The recommendation from leaders in our industry, including the ASPCA, HSUS, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine- Shelter Program, and the American Veterinary Medical Association is to temporarily suspend spay and neuter surgeries.
Based on this information, the APA has decided to temporarily suspend spay/neuter surgeries for our adoption center animals and outreach program. We will join a list of shelters, spay/neuter clinics, and veterinary practices around the country doing this to prioritize saving lives – both human and animal. This decision was not made lightly, but in doing so we:
- Conserve PPE needed by medical professionals working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Were able to donate some of our PPE to a local hospital already experiencing a shortage of necessary supplies;
- Maintain only essential employees in the building and reduce exposing our staff to COVID-19;
- And ensure we have surgery supplies available for emergency surgeries necessary to save the lives of animals in our care.
Our commitment to spay and neuter is unwavering. However, vulnerable animals continue to need sheltering and we must do what we can to get them into loving homes. We do not want to hold animals needing spay/neuter surgery for weeks to months, risking overcrowding. Even the best shelter environments are stressful and we have their emotional and physical well-being in mind, as well.
We will continue to do adoptions and will require each adopter to sign a spay/neuter agreement at the time of adoption. We will follow up with adopters as soon as we can resume non-essential surgeries, and have a number of options available to make post-adoption spay/neuter possible. The APA will prioritize specific surgery days for these pets for those who wish to have their pet spayed/neutered at the APA. We have also partnered with Carol House Quick Fix Clinic and will offer a voucher to have the surgery done at their clinic. Many adopters already have a relationship with a veterinarian, so an additional option is to have the pet spayed/neutered at their own vet. With medical records verifying the procedure, the APA will provide reimbursement to help cover the cost of the surgery.
We realize spay/neuter is a cornerstone of our success and, during normal times, it saves lives. We are not operating under normal circumstances and we must prioritize and continue helping as many animals as we can.
Animal welfare has made great strides by reducing pet overpopulation through spay/neuter efforts and, post-COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue those efforts. As soon as we can, we will ramp up our existing programs for shelter surgeries, free spay/neuter services for our outreach community (63136 zip code), and TNR efforts. Until then we need your support either through adoption, fostering, donating, or sharing what we do.
By: Sarah Javier, Executive Director | March 21, 2020
I hope this finds you and your family well. During this difficult time, pets are bringing comfort and companionship to people everywhere. We are so glad that the APA has played a big role in helping this happen right here in our community.
Although our building is closed to the public, we are grateful that we have been able to continue bringing people and pets together through fostering and adoption by appointment. While we have been able to help nearly 50 pets leave the shelter through these methods over the last few days, several more remain. We would like to see all of our available pets adopted, on trial adoption, or in loving foster homes.
We need your help. We just learned that stay-at-home orders have been issued to take effect on Monday, which means that we will no longer have the opportunity to get pets into homes during this time. While our dedicated and caring animal care staff will continue to care for the animals at the APA, we know that a home environment is so much better. If you are able, we are asking you to consider fostering a pet for the APA. With the extra time at home right now, fostering a pet us such a great way to help.
If you are interested in temporarily fostering a pet, we make it easy. First, view all of our available pets on our website. After choosing the pet you are interested in fostering, simply call us between 12-5 p.m. at 314-645-4610 to schedule a time to pick up the pet. We provide everything you need – food, bowls, crates, leashes, even toys. All pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
If you aren’t able to foster but would like to help, I encourage you to make a donation. As a private, non-profit organization, we receive no government funding and rely on the generosity of the community to continue serving animals. Like so many others, our revenue streams have been completely disrupted, so support from the community is critical. To make an online donation, please click HERE.
Thanks to your support, the APA has been helping pets in need for 98 years. While this pandemic is a first for all of us, it has reinforced our mission of bringing people and pets together.
Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA)