Protecting Animals. Educating Humans.

The Animal Protective Association of Missouri is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education and creating programs beneficial to the human/animal bond.


Organizational History and Accomplishments


On a summer day in 1922, a woman saw a man beating his horse outside of City Hall in Webster Groves, Missouri. Outraged, she went inside to ask a clerk who handled matters of animal cruelty. For a moment, the man wasn’t sure what to say. After thinking about it, he answered, “You might take it to Mrs. Ella Megginson. She’s always helping the animals.” Shocked, the woman walked away. She was Ella Megginson.

Shortly after, Mrs. Megginson gathered a group of her friends in the basement of her Webster Groves home, and from that meeting, the Animal Protective Association of Missouri (originally known as the Humane Society of Saint Louis County) was born.

With the original donation of $500 from Mrs. Harry F. Knight, the women bought the shelter’s first truck and hired a driver. The first office was located in Mrs. Megginson’s basement. The Association eventually moved out of Mrs. Megginson’s home in 1924 and had offices in numerous locations over the next 13 years. In 1937, a shelter was built at 1802 South Hanley – just across the street from the present shelter facility, which was built in 1947.

Originally formed to help prevent cruelty to working animals and stray animals in the “country,” better known now as St. Louis County, the APA now assists and advocates for companion animals in both St. Louis City, St. Louis County and several surrounding counties.

While the focus of the organization has shifted over the years to emphasize education and adoption, we have remained leaders in the humane treatment of animals in the St. Louis area. Our organizational accomplishments include:

  • Forming the first area therapeutic animal visitation program, PetReach, in 1983. For more than 30 years, PetReach volunteers have taken their companion animals into hospitals, nursing homes and even prisons to bring pet companionship to those who live without them.

  • Acting as the founding site for the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation in 1992. This group works on a statewide level to advocate for the humane treatment of all animals.

  • Performing pediatric spay/neuter surgeries several years before any other humane organization in our area. This bold step undoubtedly curbed tens of thousands of unwanted litters.

  • Developing the first and only Domestic Violence Pet Assistance program in the St. Louis area. Since 1998, this program has assisted women leaving abusive homes by fostering their pets while they regain their independence.

  • The APA Pet Transfer Program. This program brings animals from overcrowded shelters in our area to our Adoption Center, where we have a larger pool of adopters and the resources to assist. In 2014, the first year of the program, the APA transferred in 414 animals. In 2017, the program brought in 1,500 animals. To date, the program has a 98% success rate.


Other information about the APA

Adoption Services

Veterinary Clinic

Lost and Found Pets

Education and Outreach

Animal Statistics

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Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

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View Our Job Opportunities

See if there’s opening for you at the APA Adoption Center.

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