Bringing even more people and pets together
St. Louis County’s Animal Care and Control Program has long provided animal services for the St. Louis region. County officials have embarked upon a process to award a contract for animal care to an outside service provider. The APA Adoption Center (APA) is pleased to have been chosen as the most qualified applicant to provide these services and looks forward to negotiating the details in the coming months.
When approached with the opportunity to take on animal care services, the APA was honored to be considered for this important work. The APA believes we are uniquely qualified to protect animals and serve as a safety net for pet families in St. Louis County. Extending the APA’s work to take on this contract to provide care for an additional 5,000 animals is aligned with the organization’s mission to place animals in loving homes.
The APA will enhance services for human and animal constituents of St. Louis County by employing the tenets of socially conscious animal sheltering which balances the commitment to animals with the needs of the community. Click here to learn more about socially conscious sheltering at the APA.
It is a contract between a governmental entity and an animal care agency charged with providing shelter and medical care to homeless, lost, or relinquished pets. It includes reunification of lost pets with their families or placing homeless or relinquished pets in new loving homes. Most importantly, it means supporting families and the community through spay and neuter operations, classroom initiatives, and many more programs that strengthen the human-animal bond.
The APA is committed to placing every healthy and community-compatible animal in a home and ensuring every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care. The APA is also committed to reducing the length of stay for animals who would previously have been under County care and ensuring medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals are thoroughly addressed.
The APA supports compassionate, responsible, and humane care for every animal in our community. We put these tenets into action in everything we do—through adoption programs that already help more than 4,500 pets find homes each year, wellness programs that help thousands of pets remain healthy, and through programs designed to help meet more specialized needs of our community, such as pets living in under-resourced communities or pets whose owners are survivors of domestic violence. The APA is grateful for the opportunity to expand these services to animals in need throughout St. Louis County.
As a nonprofit organization, the APA’s mission is to ensure that all healthy and treatable animals have a safe, loving home. Both St. Louis County and the APA are confident that through this contract, services for the animals will be improved, length of stay will decrease, and, because a number of duplications between the County and the APA will be eliminated, other economies of scale will result in long-term cost savings and increased efficiency.
For 100 years, the APA has been bringing people and pets together. Over the past century, the APA’s adoption program has successfully created tens of thousands of new beginnings for pets, providing them a second chance in a new, loving, and forever home. The APA is known for high standards in animal care, an innovative and solution-focused approach to animal welfare, and high-quality customer service.
The APA will be using the County’s existing facilities, with adjustments to maximize space, flow, and animal and guest safety.
The vital services of the APA stretch beyond the traditional care of many shelters. The APA has evolved over 100 years to become a leader in the state of Missouri and beyond thanks to the development of innovative programs and services. By supporting pet-owning citizens with resources essential to keeping their pets, fewer animals end up in shelters, lessening the burden on taxpayers.
The APA offers impactful programs, such as: lost and found pet assistance; adoption services; pet relinquishment; pet training and behavior assistance; vaccination/microchip clinics; foster care programs for sick, injured, behaviorally challenged and under-aged animals; low-cost community spay/neuter surgeries; rescue group partnerships; resources for finding pet-friendly housing and crisis housing services; pet-loss support; as well as safety net programming. The APA also offers community engagement and education programs for youth and adults to increase the human-animal bond and promote responsible pet ownership.
On October 8th, 2019, the County Council authorized the Department of Public Health (DPH) to post a Request for Proposals (RFP) from eligible entities to operate the ACC shelter. This RFP was posted in the Fall 2021, and the APA was selected through this competitive process. Next steps include contract negotiation and a legislative process through the County Council.
St. Louis County intentionally sought a non-profit partner with an extensive history to operate the ACC shelter. County was not interested in privatizing the shelter, but rather sought out an experienced non-profit partner who has a history of implementing and operationalizing national best practices for shelter operations.
St. Louis County and the APA will coordinate with existing ACC staff for the best possible outcome for animals and employees. ACC employees will have the opportunity to apply to the APA for open positions, and if qualified, may be selected by the APA to complete the interview process. ACC employees will be supported by DPH and County Personnel leadership throughout this process.
This partnership does not include Animal Control functions. However, the rest of the shelter operations (intake, adoptions, animal care, and veterinary medicine), are within the scope of this partnership and will be under the purview of the APA. Specific details of shared duties and transfer of animals between control functions and operation functions will be part of the discovery and review process.
The APA, because we are a non-profit organization, will be governed by our Board of Directors, as we are currently. We will not fall within the reporting structure of St. Louis County government, but rather will be contracted to provide a service to the County as detailed in the agreed upon contract. All functions within the scope of the contract will be implemented according to APA procedures, policies, and decision-making.
DPH staff conduct monitoring and compliance for all contracted services as a regular function of the department. DPH staff will regularly interface with the APA regarding the progress of the shelter.
Yes, once an animal enters the building, whether it is a stray brought in by a member of the community, a pet needing to be rehomed by their owner, or a pet brought in by an animal control officer, it becomes the responsibility of and will be cared for by the APA. Once in the care of the APA, we will also be responsible for all decisions and outcomes related to that pet.
St. Louis County and the APA are both committed to providing volunteer opportunities at the ACC shelter. Volunteers are a critical component of a successful shelter, and we will have more communication and meetings to ensure a smooth transition.
YES! Foster homes are a critical part of our success and we are anxious to add this important program to the STL County location since one does not currently exist. By engaging foster volunteers, we reduce overcrowding in the shelter environment and open up space for other pets who need us. Foster homes also provide valuable support for pregnant dogs and cats, their puppies and kittens, as well as pets receiving medical treatment prior to adoption.
Absolutely. We recognize that by working collaboratively with rescue groups and other shelters, we are able to help more pets. The APA has hired a team member to specifically help manage these relationships and as we get closer to acquiring operations, we will be reaching out to rescue partners to talk about the most effective way to work together.
On May 10, 2022, the St. Louis County Council unanimously approved the legislation required for the APA and St. Louis County to move forward with negotiation of a contract for animal care services. On May 11, 2022, County Executive Sam Page signed this legislation, which was the final step in this process. The ordinance went into effect on May 26, 2022.
On August 25, 2022, the contract for services agreement between St. Louis County and the APA was signed.
Over the next few months, APA leadership and those with expertise in a variety of areas will work with DPH staff to determine what infrastructure is needed to successfully transition operation of St. Louis County Animal Care and Adoption Center to the APA. Throughout this process, we will be providing regular updates to APA and St. Louis County staff, volunteers, partners, and community members, as we know this is an issue many people care about deeply. We understand that support from these stakeholders is critical to our success, so it is our goal to bring others along on this journey as much as possible.
At this time, we anticipate that the APA will acquire operation of St. Louis County Animal Care and Adoption Center by the end of 2022, therefore we are starting to post and hire for employment positions that we anticipate will be needed to provide the animals with the standard of care the APA is known for. Positions will be rolled out in phases over a period of several weeks with employment offers being made and finalized contingent on the start date of APA operations. Current St. Louis County Animal Care and Adoption Center employees will be given first opportunity to apply and interview for positions, if qualified, however, others are welcome to apply, as well.
We have received a lot of interest in available positions from current St. Louis County Animal Care and Adoption Center employees, existing APA employees, as well as members of the community. To date, we have extended employment offers contingent upon the start date of operations for a number of positions. All positions that we are currently seeking to fill can be found on the employment page of our website.