Mayor Francis Slay today announced the City of St. Louis would make the money from the Animal Protection Facility Restoration Fund available to Stray Rescue for capital improvements or new facilities for dogs. At the same time, Health Director Pam Walker announced new proposed legislation to curb the number of unwanted animals in the City.
In the last nine years, taxpayers and water users have used a check box to donate to a fund to create new facilities for stray animals. The fund has $255,721.92 in it. Under the ordinance, the money can only be used for new capital improvements or new facilities to care for abandoned, neglected and injured animals.
"Stray Rescue is doing a tremendous job," Slay said. "The organization has demonstrated that they love animals. But, they have also demonstrated that they can be effective and can manage money well. The combination of good intentions and good results convinced me that they would use the money as the donors intended."
Under orders from the mayor, the Health Department closed the old, dangerous and cruel animal shelter on Gasconade. It created a new partnership with Stray Rescue to house, provide medical care, and find families for dogs.
Slay considered refunding the money to taxpayers and water users. But, two factors convinced him otherwise. First, he is convinced Stray Rescue will use the money as the donors intended. Second, many of the donations were for very small amounts-most under a dollar. That's because most people donated by rounding up their water or tax payments.
In accordance with the Ordinance creating the fund, the Health Director will recommend the use of the funds to the Health and Human Services Committee of the Board of Aldermen. The Committee will determine the capital improvements for which the funds will be used. Once they pass a resolution, the Health Director can prepare vouchers to pay for specific invoices submitted by Stray Rescue. No part of the fund will be used for any general operating purpose or expense, salaries, or advertising.
"Stray Rescue has been a godsend for thousands of abandoned animals," Walker said. "But, they are not miracle workers. Unless pet owners and breeders are more responsible, no one will be able to solve this problem. So, we are proposing legislation that will penalize irresponsible dog owners and breeders."
The legislation will make the City safer and more pet-friendly by reducing animal abuse and the number of strays in the City by doing the following: * Prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs and cats.* Protecting animals from abuse and neglect by requiring all breeders to get a City permit and be inspected.* Reducing the number of unwanted litters by restricting backyard breeders to two intact females rather than the 10 currently allowed by law.* Assist low-income residents with spaying and neutering their companion animals by directing up to $50,000 of the animal law violation fines to a low-income spay/neuter fund.* Require all companion animal owners who do not have a commercial or backyard breeder license to spay and neuter their pets.