Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions most commonly asked about the APA Adoption Center.

What kinds of animals do you help?

The APA Adoption Center assists dogs, cats and other pets such as gerbils or rabbits – we do not shelter wildlife. We are happy to make referrals to appropriate agencies and organizations.

Do you rescue animals who have been injured or mistreated?

Our mission is limited to working with animals that are brought to us for placement in new homes. We simply don’t have the resources to come out to rescue animals in distress. If you are concerned about a stray or other animal, please call your local animal control office. You may also report suspected abuse or neglect to the Humane Society of Missouri at 314.647.4400, which does have a rescue service.

How many animals come to the shelter?

We take in over 3,000 animals annually. Between our veterinary clinic and shelter, we handle nearly 10,000 animals each year.  Our daily numbers vary due to the season, but we can house around 300 animals at one time.

Why do you charge for these animals?

It costs a great deal of money to shelter, feed and take care of the animals. Some of them require veterinary care before they can be adopted.  Adopting a companion animal will be an ongoing expense. We estimate that with proper vet care, a nutritious diet, and general care, it costs up to $500.00 a year to keep a companion animal.

Our adoption fee includes an exam, microchip, spaying or neutering,  vaccinations, worming, and flea and tick preventatives, and any necessary medications. We also do a heartworm test on dogs and FIV/Felv test on cats. Each adoption also includes a limited basic health care plan. Overall, we estimate our fees cover only about 25% of the combined cost of these medical expenses and the care of the animal while it’s waiting for its new family.

How do I surrender a pet?

We understand that for a variety of reasons people sometimes have to surrender their pet. However, our helpful staff may have information or resources to share that provides an alternative to rehoming. They can be reached at 314-645-4610 during normal business hours.

We ask that owners surrendering a pet come Monday through Friday between 10am and 5pm. We can accommodate surrenders anytime during our adoption center hours, but there may be a longer wait on weekends. Please also allow approximately 20 minutes to complete the surrender paperwork and have your photo id with you. If bringing an animal from outside of MO you must have a health certificate to cross state lines.

We charge a $30 rehoming fee, $40 for pets outside of St. Louis City or County, and $50 per litter.  We do not receive any tax funding and rely on private donations, so this fee helps cover the initial medical care we provide to every animal upon admitting.

Our average length of stay for animals available for adoption is less than 1 week. Pets typically get adopted very quickly, but some stay longer if needed. We do our best to find a loving home for every animal, but cannot guarantee placement. Animals must be safe for the community. They must also be healthy, however we can address some illnesses and injuries so the pet is adoptable. To discuss in more detail please call our adoption counselors at 314-645-4610.

Are animals from shelters more likely to be sick?

The problems of illness exist in any facility with multiple animals, including shelters, pet stores and breeders. In fact, every time you take your puppy or kitten to the veterinarian, obedience school or the park, it can be exposed to a number of diseases. We encourage all pet owners to be extremely careful when considering the health of their pet and to maintain current immunizations and medical records. The stress of being held in a shelter environment can unquestionably reduce an animal’s immunity to disease.

Our animals are surrendered to the APA Adoption Center from many sources, and we can never be certain of the health care they received before arriving at the shelter. This is why we try to determine an animal’s health at the first evaluation and continue to monitor its well-being while it stays with us. Our team of experienced veterinarians and technicians screen the animals and administer necessary medical care.

Health concerns are also the reason we offer high-quality Purina pet food to our animals. These foods tend to keep animals healthier and put less stress on their systems. Good food reviews for puppies can look We offer a two-week limited wellness coverage at our clinic upon adoption to assist in covering coughs or colds that may appear.

How long do you keep the animals? Do you put them to sleep?

Every adoptable pet finds a home. Period. We have no pre-determined time limit for how long we will hold an animal while we try to place it in a good home. Some highly adoptable breeds or cute kittens and puppies will be adopted almost immediately after arriving at the shelter. Other animals, particularly older ones, have stays as long as a year before finding the right family.

There are times, for reasons of health or behavior, that some animals must be humanely euthanized. We euthanize animals in the same manner that your vet would use if you were faced with the difficult decision to put your family pet to sleep.

Are you a “no-kill” shelter?

Because of the collaborative spirit necessary to reduce euthanasia on a community-wide level, the APA Adoption Center does not use the term “no-kill” to separate ourselves from other shelter partners who are under the pressure of space and/or time constraints. While we don’t euthanize adoptable animals, we object to the “no-kill” label because it divides shelters and people that need to work together to focus on what matters, which is saving as many pets’ lives as possible. Many “no-kill” shelters limit their admission by the number of animals allowed into the shelter or by the age, health or temperament of the pet. At the APA, we accept all animals and the only time limit imposed is the six-day stray hold. This time period is provided to give the animal’s owner time to locate the pet before we consider it for placement.

We are committed to ending the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats, and we know that the pet homelessness problem extends beyond the capabilities of any one agency. We encourage an approach that includes all animal welfare agencies, regardless of their intake philosophies.

Do you ever get purebred animals in the shelter?

Approximately 25% of the dogs and cats that come into shelters are purebreds. You can also search for specific breeds on

Why do you not label dog breeds?

One study found dogs are labeled incorrectly 75% of the time. When attempting to label a dog we are simply making an educated guess, which is often wrong. We believe that removing labels and focusing on the personality and other observable traits of a dog is much more transparent and helpful to adopters. Essentially, we focus on the WHO instead of the WHAT. We share everything we know about a pet with an adopter because that is how we create the very best match.

Do you do DNA testing to determine a breed?

No we do not. DNA testing is costly and time consuming, and even if we know the makeup of a particular pet, breed traits are not always accurate with mixed breeds. We focus instead on who the pet is, including their personality, quirky behaviors, and all of the other great things that make them unique.

I want a “??” breed. Can you put me on a list and if one comes in, hold it for me?

No. Adoptable animals are available only by coming to the shelter. Maintaining such a list and notifying people would take staff time away from working with adopters in the shelter. It could also cause missed matches for the animal. If we held an animal for you and you chose not to adopt, we might miss opportunities for a match with someone who had come to the shelter while the animal was unavailable.

The Adoptable Pets page of our website allows you to perform a search of our database with a few basic selecting factors. If you don’t find the animal you want in the search results, you can use our “Register Your Breed Interest” links below. Signup allows you to receive e-mail notification if a specific breed is included in our database. This is a system maintained by our computer software, so please read the instructions carefully.

Register your breed interest for cats here.

Register your breed interest for dogs here.

We also try to help with referrals to other organizations and groups that may know of a particular type of animal that is requested. Have more questions? Just give us a call at 314.645.4610 ext. 110 and we will be happy to help!

How do you get the money you need?

The APA Adoption Center is an independent not-for-profit organization. We are not a branch of any other animal welfare organization and we don’t receive any funding from government sources.

A portion of our funding is provided by the fees charged in the shelter and clinic, and some comes from special events and grants from corporations and foundations.

The majority of our expenses are covered by the contributions of individuals who share our passion for the animals. Visit the Donate section of this website to learn how you can make contributions to our cause.

Of course we welcome your assistance in other ways as well. Visit the Volunteer pages for information on volunteering at the shelter and other things you can do to help the animals.

About the APA Adoption Center

Learn about our mission and the services we offer.

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