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'I'm ready to jump on board' | New hire hopes to bring change to St. Louis County Animal Control

"Every decision right now is to benefit the lives of the animals," the new animal population manager said.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Audits. Lawsuits. Volunteers told they they would need to reapply if they wanted to help. 

That's what's been happening at St. Louis County Animal Care and Control.

The shelter says it's restructuring, and that includes adding a new position to manage the animal population.  

RELATED: Federal lawsuit filed against St. Louis County by animal control volunteers who are being forced to reapply

Mandy Ryan is well-known through the rescue community. 

She's the owner and president of Missouri K-9 friends since 2013 and has over 18 years of experience in the animal field. 

From being a vet tech to working animal control and cruelty investigations, Ryan will now add Animal Population Manager to her list. 

Ryan said she hopes she can bring positive change and get back on track. 

"I did not take the decision lightly, I did think long and hard about it. There's a long list that we have to work on. But everything that we are doing at this point is to better the lives and well beings of the animals," Ryan said in a sit-down interview with Five On Your Side. 

"We're going to be enhancing the foster program," she said of her role. "We're going to be developing and implementing an animal behavior program to get animals adopted quicker, get into rescue quicker."

As the President of Missouri K-9 Friends, she's developed a good relationship with the rescue community in the area.

One of Ryan's top priorities is to strengthen the relationship with the rescue community and county. She believes these connections can tackle problems going on at the county's high-intake shelter. 

"I know lot of the workers there are overworked and stressed, but it is everything we are doing at this point is opening those cages up, get dogs cats adopted out, and lower those euthanasia numbers," Ryan said.

RELATED: '[We] walk dogs and pick up poo for free' | Why STL animal control volunteers have to reapply for their jobs

For Ryan, it's crucial to repair these relationships to open up cage space.

"Getting dogs out of the shelter environment into these foster-based rescues. A dog will do a lot better in a foster home than a shelter-based environment," said.

She's also looking forward to meeting the volunteers. "Having a strong volunteer base is essential to the shelter, so I am looking forward to working with them," she said.

Ryan's main goal with this new job is to continue to help animals. 

"That's going to be my main thing, We're going to fight for them. Every decision right now is to benefit the lives of the animals," she said. "We're going to do everything we possibly can to get these dogs into healthy homes, get them adopted get them into rescue. Just make sure their health and well being are taken care of at the shelter and make sure the workers and volunteers are happy as well."

She will start her new job in December, but she's already working with the animal shelter. Ryan will keep her position as President and Board Member of Missouri K-9 Friends, but will act in more of an advisory role. 

As of Nov. 8, the St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center will be hosting a volunteer drive to raise awareness to the need for volunteers and to gain 100 applications by Tuesday, Nov. 12.

RELATED: St. Louis County Pet Adoption Center hosting volunteer drive

To become a volunteer, click here

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