I promised you an update on the City's goal of implementing the region's most comprehensive no-kill animal policies.
The Animal Control facility at Gasconade has now been closed to the public for about a year, but it remains in limited use (0-30 animals) to house a mix of bite dogs (and a few bite cats) and police surrenders on a temporary basis. (The police surrenders come from nighttime criminal actions, evictions, and other kinds of police calls.)
Gasconade remains an unsuitable place to keep animals. Both the City's Department of Health and the Comptroller's Office have been working since October 2010 to find a better place. The task is complicated by the cost ' about $300,000 for construction and more to add an on-site vet ' and the need for any ward's alderman and surrounding businesses and residents to approve the location. Regardless, a new facility must be found before January 2012 when the new Canine Cruelty Prevention Standards go into effect.
Some of you who care about animals have asked about the current routine at Gasconade; others have asked how to report stray, injured, dangerous, or endangered animals.
All of the bite/police surrender animals at Gasconade are taken care of twice daily by the staff. They are placed outside for at least 30 minutes in the runs while their cages are cleaned. They are fed twice daily. All but two of the small metal cages are gone and those two are only used for smaller dogs. The bite ward is padlocked and only the Director has the key. All of the other dogs are kept in either the larger concrete cages or the long indoor runs. Staff at Gasconade transfers dogs, when appropriate, to Stray Rescue, but the dogs that are too dangerous to be transferred are euthanized.
If you see a stray within the City of St. Louis that needs to be rescued, you should call the Citizen Services Bureau at 622-4800. You may also tweet them at @stlcsb.
If the animal is injured, CSB will immediately call Stray Rescue. If it is just a stray at large or a confined stray, CSB will forward the report to Stray Rescue who will respond in no more than 24 hours during the week and by Monday for the weekend. Animal Control, Stray Rescue, and ' often ' the police will respond quickly to calls about an animal being abused.
If a dog has attacked a person or another dog, you should call 911. Both the police and City Animal Control will respond to such emergency calls.
City Animal Control is no longer taking in any strays from the general public, despite requests from some aldermen, the Humane Society of Missouri, and APA for it to do so. Instead, the City plans to proceed with a set of new ordinances that formalize relationships with our partner groups and place greater restrictions on people who buy, sell, and breed animals here. This is a more humane and responsible approach than operating under the fiction that something other than euthanasia awaits the majority of surrendered animals. I do not support re-opening Gasconade to the public or getting back into the stray animal rescue and care business, rather than relying on Stray Rescue and our partners.
There will be hearings on the proposed ordinances. If you agree with our direction, your support will be needed then.