Volunteer at St. Louis County Animal Care and Control ask county council to investigate the shelters operation

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – At a St. Louis County Council meeting Tuesday night (Feb. 5) several of the issues on the agenda were tabled until a later date.

County Executive Steve Stenger attended the meeting. The council has criticized Stenger for frequently missing council meetings.

There was a first reading of a recommendation from Stenger to allow for more money be given to the St. Louis County Police Department in the amount of $1,075,005 for police operations in the City of Wildwood. The police department’s contract with the City of Wildwood is increasing from $3,751,473.94 to $4,826,479.85 and the additional funds will be used to add more officers, increase pay for current officers, and add five additional vehicles to the fleet.

Discussion about a proposed ordinance which will impact vaping and vaping products on school property was tabled to a later date. Councilman Ernie Trakas said he hopes to have this discussion before the end of the month.

A proposal Fox 2 previously reported on, which recommends giving the county police department an additional $4.8 million from the general fund. Councilman Tim Fitch said the police department is still gathering its spending records from last year, and they hope to advance this discussion before the end of the month.

During public comments, a volunteer with St. Louis County Animal Care and Control spoke to the council about her concerns and asked for an investigation into the shelter’s operations.

Fox 2 previously reported about how volunteers were concerned about euthanasia rates rising at the end of 2018.

The volunteer, Leanne Fritsch, said the shelter was operating without a license. Fox 2 contacted the Missouri Department of Agriculture Tuesday and learned the county’s license expired on Jan. 31. A state spokesperson said the county should not have been operating a shelter while its license was expired.

The county received word from the state Tuesday that its application for renewal was received, and the shelter was permitted to operate again.

Fritsch said communication at the shelter is a problem.

“There is a real lack of transparency at the shelter as far as what is happening to the animals,” said Fritsch. “They are trying to keep volunteers from being able to help. The volunteers are there because we love the animals, and we’re free help.”

Spring Schmidt, Acting Director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, said she respects the perspective volunteers bring to the shelter.

“This is a situation where we deal with a lot of perspectives and a lot of stakeholders and it really is a constant trying to find that balance,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt said they plan to have a meeting with shelter volunteers to answer their questions and address concerns.

A third-party audit of the shelter is expected to take place this month.

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