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Animal Protective Adoption Center slated to operate pet adoption services for St. Louis County

Residents and pets throughout the area will benefit from 100 years of animal welfare experience starting in December, the center says.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Animal Protective Adoption Center (APA) announced Wednesday that they will manage the St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center facility in Olivette. 

The APA is a nonprofit organization in St. Louis dedicated to bringing people and pets together, advancing humane education and creating programs beneficial to the human and animal bond. 

The APA was selected after a County Request For Proposal (RFP) and application process. 

President and CEO Sarah Javier told 5 On Your Side, "The APA was interested because we help thousands of pets a year. We knew we could make a difference for the pets who need us."

She believes the APA was selected for its dedicated service in its 100-year span.

The APA will still operate its flagship location on Hanley Road in Brentwood while also operating the St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center located at 10521 Baur Boulevard.

However, now it will double its work. 

Javier says the St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center has about the same amount of animals as the APA does. 

The APA has completed more than 4,000 pet adoptions and has served about 6,716 pets through wellness and outreach programming since the beginning of this year. They have also coordinated 357 pet adoptions this year. 

Javier explains pets are adopted in about a week-span at the APA, whereas the county's center sees cases as long as a year.

The organization knows the St. Louis County shelter has had many issues.

The change comes as St. Louis County faces questions and lawsuits about animal care and control. One family said their dog was euthanized without their permission by St. Louis County Animal Care and Control.

Javier says she's ready to improve conditions.

"We have three main pillars we focus on. Adoption, wellness, and education. We plan to mirror the programming and services we provide here to the animals over there because that's what they deserve," she says. 

Mandy Zatorski is a former animal facility manager with the County.

She was hired at the end of 2019, but then fired in December of 2020.

Now, she is suing St. Louis County for her termination. 

For now, St. Louis County can't comment pending litigation.

Zatorski said she is relieved to hear the news about the APA.

"The APA is a great organization and fully support them. The APA is going to help with some things and dogs will walk again, some aren't right now. Rescues could begin to work with the shelter again too," Zatorski points out. 

However, she said she is still worried.

"They aren't taking the biggest problem area," she said.

Zatorski and Javier confirmed the APA won't be taking over the animal control side.

"That's the side enforcing laws, bite quarantines, cruelty investigation, Sunshine Law requests," Zatorski said. 

Zatorski said she believes big problems lie there and says it has "problem" managers.

But she also believes in the APA's work.

"I am hopeful enrichment will get better," she said.

Javier said right now, the organization is in the discovery and review phase, gathering information to form an operational plan.

Then, the APA will officially take over on Dec. 5.

APA will launch a foster care program that very same day. Currently, the County's shelter does not have one.

The next day, it will open to the public.

For more information and to learn more about how to adopt, visit apamo.org.

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