OLIVETTE – St. Louis County officials on Wednesday launched long-discussed plans to find a non-profit organization to run the pet shelter here, two years after an external audit sounded the facility for de poor conditions and for using paperwork to cover high death rates.
Deputy Director of Public Health Spring Schmidt said conditions at the facility have improved significantly since the report, but the shelter would benefit from non-profit management that would have more flexibility than government operators. to raise funds, hire and retain staff, and work with volunteers and other community groups.
“We are not shirking our responsibility here,” Schmidt said. “We thought about it a lot. “
A formal request for proposals released Wednesday calls for a nonprofit – or multiple nonprofits – that can handle a range of day-to-day responsibilities at the shelter for the next five years. The contract includes a three-year extension option, but did not set a cap on the contract price.
Schmidt said the county wanted flexibility, but expects the cost to be less than the $ 4 million per year the department currently spends to run the shelter and conduct animal control services – including abuse investigations, disease prevention and stray animal control – countywide.
“We are really looking for a non-profit partner with significant experience, expertise and capacity to really help us build from scratch,” she said.