This guest blog item was submitted by Pam Walker, acting director of the City's Health's Department:
This is what I tell people who write to me or to Mayor Slay about the Animal Shelter on Gasconade:
Please do not give up hope now. I am personally managing the shelter and making changes. It has been managed the same way for a very long time and, believe it or not, there are some people who like it just the way it is. The Mayor is not one of those people and neither am I. I have a 3 part plan that I have asked the community to help me implement.Treat the animals in Gasconade humanely. That means good food, good exercise, the right medicine, etc. When I saw fleas, I ordered every dog treated; and when the cheap meds weren't working, I ordered all sick animals be put on expensive meds. I will not tolerate the ways these animals have been treated. Expand housing capacity. Local rescue groups have already transferred 550 animals this year, as many as they did all of last year. Of our 140 dogs, Randy Grim is going to take 69 mid-July and he will potentially double that if dogs can share a run. Reduce intake and increase outtake. We will soon begin a very public spay/neuter add campaign and I have already partially closed the facility by refusing almost all animal surrenders at the door. We are attending at least 2 adoption events per month and we just had an event where I slashed the adoption cost in half.
I have made it clear that I intend to close the shelter by end of the summer, however it is not "a going out of business sale". The animals and staff must have an alternative facility. Stray Rescue is helping with the dogs, but, unfortunately, I may need to keep the cats and staff at Gasconade past the end of summer deadline. I am sending out weekly updates to the volunteers and rescue groups and I am completely transparent with the public, even when the news is bad. To all who have written: I appreciate your passion and your support.