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Animal House money now to go to Stray Rescue

Mayor Francis Slay and Stray Rescue founder Randy Grim with a four-legged friend in July 2010.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mayor Francis Slay and Stray Rescue founder Randy Grim with a four-legged friend in July 2010.

In December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that money collected via tax bills for a planned new animal shelter in the city of St. Louis was sitting in a special fund with no place to be used.

That prompted St. Louis aldermen to consider legislative changes that would remove the check-off - which  currently holds more than $255,000 - from the city's water and tax bills. But the question remained; what to do with the money?

Well today, Mayor Francis Slay unveiled the city's new policy.

The legislation that authorized the creation of the "Animal House Fund" requires the money in the fund be used "only to pay for all costs related to the construction of a new Animal Protection Facility and for materials and equipment required to properly maintain such a facility." But since no new building is planned, and the city got out of the business of caring for  strays anyway, the money will go to Stray Rescue, the non-profit that's housed stray dogs from the city since July.

Stray Rescue has proven itself to be financially sound, says interim health director Pamela Rice Walker, and clearly committed to the cause of giving animals a better life.

"They’re going to rescue 2,000 more animals than we did last year, they’re going to adopt a thousand more than we did, and they’re going to euthanize over a thousand fewer than we euthanized."

Its founder, Randy Grim, says he'd blocked the fund from his mind because he didn't want to lobby for the cash. He'll use the money to build larger cages for the rescued pups.

Also today, Walker unveiled policies that are designed to reduce the number of dogs Grim must care for. They include:

  • Prohibiting pet stores in the city from selling dogs and cats. (Walker calls this a preemptive strike - there aren't any stores in the boundaries doing this currently.)
  • Requiring all breeders to get a license and submit to inspections from the city.
  • Limiting breeders to two intact females, down from the current 10.
  • Requiring all non-breeders to spay or neuter their animals. Walker says the department will be looking for the authority to use fines paid for animal control violations to help low-income pet owners pay to get their animals fixed.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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