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APA takes over St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center, makes changes on day 1

"It's really a big day for pets in our community," APA President and CEO said.

OLIVETTE, Mo. — Drilling could be heard outside of the St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center Monday morning at 10521 Baur Boulevard in Olivette.

New signs saying 'APA Adoption Center' were hung up out front. 

The Animal Protective Association, known as the APA, officially took over the facility. 

It'll be known as APA Olivette.

This is after a 2019 audit showed poor conditions and concerns of high euthanasia rates.

Some problems the audit included:

  • The volunteer program needs to be better managed
  • Inability to control infectious disease due to overcapacity
  • Cages and kennels not being properly disinfected, which contributes to the spread of disease
  • Not enough animals being transferred to rescue groups

Suggestions included hiring a contractor and a nonprofit partnership.

The APA was awarded a contract to manage the shelter after a County Request For Proposal (RFP) competitive bidding process. 

The APA will still operate its flagship location on Hanley Road in Brentwood while also operating the Olivette location.

Sarah Javier, President and CEO of the APA Adoption Center, believes the APA was selected for its dedicated service in its 100-year history.

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.

Javier said pets adoptions take about a week at the APA, whereas the county's center sees cases as long as a year.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis County Health Department shared this statement:

"The APA was awarded a County contract to manage the animal shelter after a competitive bidding process. We are thrilled that the residents of St. Louis County are being served by a partner with the expertise and reputation of the APA, and we look forward to seeing how this partnership improves service to the community."

Javier said the APA already made adjustments on day one. 

"Over the last several months, we’ve been working with St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the officials there to come up with an operating plan for APA," Javier said. "Today is the day that we actually can get inside the building."

Javier said the APA set up computers, plugged in phones, and squared technology issues.

But the animals were at the forefront of the changes. 

When arriving, there were roughly 175 animals.

Javier said that's a lot of animals to care for.

Implementing a foster care program was at the top of the list.

"We know that having a foster care program in place helps us find homes for more animals and makes space in the shelter who need it," she added. 

The APA also invited rescues to take animals.

Another priority was walking dogs.

"There were many animals that had not been out, sometimes for weeks, depending on the situation. We have even hired dog walkers to make sure we have plenty of people, including volunteers, so multiple dogs get walks every day," Javier said. 

Deep cleaning was also a priority to make sure bacteria was removed.

"There were definitely some challenges in part due to staffing," Javier said in regards to the conditions.

She said the facility is almost fully staffed with 40 employees.

There will be employees specializing in direct animal care, an adoption specialist, and those focusing on behavior and enrichment.

"It's really a big day for pets in our community," Javier exclaimed.

If everything goes as planned, APA Olivette will open up Tuesday afternoon to the public for adoptions.

For now, they encourage more foster families to sign up.

For more information, click here.

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