Creating a more caring community for people and pets.
CARE STL exists to create a supportive community rooted in collaboration, compassion, and caring for people and animals.
CARE STL envisions a world where all animals are nurtured in body, mind, and heart.
The Center for Animal Rescue and Enrichment of St. Louis, or CARE STL, was born when the survival of unwanted animals from St. Louis's "city pound" was at stake. In January 2012, the Department of Agriculture ordered the City of St. Louis Department of Health to comply with the state's new dog-breeding law dubbed the "canine cruelty and prevention act," which required larger cages than those at the old facility on Gasconade Street. The city closed Gasconade to the public more than a year ago after revelations surfaced that it had inadequate ventilation, plumbing, and cages, spreading disease and hurting dogs. However, at that time, the city continued to use the old shelter as a holding tank and euthanasia facility for animal-aggressive dogs and for those that had bitten people. Gasconade also housed dogs that couldn't be sent to nonprofits partnering with the city. The issue becomes a public battle among politicians, with the previous City Mayor, Slay, insisting that Gasconade be closed and that the partnership with a local nonprofit is strengthened to support city efforts to provide more humane animal control services. Fast-forward to August 2017, the City of St. Louis Department of Health stated that they would like to enter into a contract with a nonprofit that primarily runs the City Animal Shelter ("pound") to make the city one of the most animal-ethical cities in the nation. The goal is for the selected nonprofit to provide animal care, adoption services, rescue assistance, and medical care for the city's unwanted companion animals. CARE STL was founded in 2018 in response to the City of St. Louis Department of Health's Request for Proposals for an animal shelter partner to run the existing city-run animal shelter, recording a 55% euthanasia rate. Weng Horak founded the organization. CARE STL was awarded the contract and has managed the city shelter since March 2019. CARE STL's mission is to create a supportive community rooted in collaboration, compassion, and caring for people and animals.
CARE STL comprises employees and volunteers who have worked full-time at ACC since August 2017. Weng has been overseeing ACC even before signing the contract with the city. "After over five years of managing the St. Louis City Animal Care shelter, which resulted in a 96% live release rate, I cannot just walk away from these animals. I see how it impacts our financials and is hard for us to go on, but I know I have to do something for these animals, and that's what CARE STL is all about," said Weng Horak, Founder, and CEO of CARE St. Louis. "This is a remarkable moment for our city, with the primary goal to stop euthanizing adoptable and treatable companion animals while offering resources to our community to keep families and pets together. I'm excited for the future of our city's four-legged friends," said Weng Horak. CARE STL will continue to provide all existing services and much more since its mission and focus is exclusively on protecting the safety of the city of St. Louis residents and its animals and protecting the public from stray and possibly dangerous animals. CARE STL will always help the city enforce Title 10 of the City Code relevant to animal care and control.
CARE STL's target goal is to achieve the highest live release rate in the nation by following the guiding principles of proper sheltering practices such as:
Save and rehabilitate community dogs and cats, regardless of whether they are perceived to be friendly or unsocial with humans ("feral")
Save orphaned animals as well as pregnant animals and their newborns.
Rehabilitate animals suffering from or exposed to treatable contagious illnesses and provide emergency medical help to them.
Enrichment of poorly socialized dogs, shy dogs, or traumatized dogs
Care for the animals surrendered; our veterinarian and professional behaviorist staff will
independently evaluate the animals to determine treatability.
Work with treatable animals considered to have "behavior problems" or "medical problems."
Evaluate animals with behavior and medical impediments even if they have been signed over for euthanasia.
Provide care for all animals not based on arbitrary criteria such as color, age, or breed.
CARE STL is committed to the City of St. Louis Department of Health and its city residents by promoting progressive programs and advocating for animal welfare. We strive to educate the public about responsible pet guardianship and recommend reforms in animal control policies.
Our purpose is to rescue, rehabilitate, and facilitate the placement of unwanted pets from the City of St. Louis into suitable homes; to establish and manage an animal shelter for St. Louis City Animal Care and Control; to promote the welfare of the animals in our care, to reunite lost pets to their owners, and to increase public safety by addressing issues related to irresponsible pet owners and dangerous animals. We are focused on saving the animals of St. Louis City.
CARE STL is embracing the St. Louis community to extend a safety net of care for the animals in the city. We want to continue to grow our partnerships with other rescue organizations, foster care families, and volunteers. The key to success is our staff, volunteers who socialize with animals, and donors who open their hearts, homes, and wallets to the St. Louis city animals in dire need of assistance. The public will be at the center of our success, with us working with the city's residents to implement lifesaving programs and treat each life as precious. An organization like CARE STL transformed ACC into an excellent and phenomenal city shelter.
We know it is a tall order to have the goal of the highest live release rate, but this is what the leadership and entire CARE STL staff do best-- outside the box thinking. It will take all the city residents and business community partners to support and assist in achieving this goal. It can be done.