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Outrage after dog recently euthanized by St. Louis County animal shelter

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Some are outraged over a dog put down by St. Louis County animal shelter. It has led to questions over procedure and transparency of St. Louis County Animal Care and Control.

“He looked like a stray at the time, so I opened my door. I said, ‘Come here boy’ and he jumped in my car sat in my front seat started giving me kisses,” says Kayla Smith.

Smith named him Thor. They played with some of her coworkers and kids while they waited for animal control.

A little more than a month later, Smith heard he was going to be put down because he bit someone’s fingers while they were putting him in a kennel, according to records.

“It wasn’t even 24 hours after they contacted me after they told me he would they were worried about his fate and that they had euthanized him,” Smith said.

Records show him being calm and playful on June 16 and June 28. The next day, documents state he “moved from 400 to 500 since the bite and we are full in 700.”

Vets were also treating Thor for ongoing issues with what’s commonly known as kennel cough and a bite he got from another dog.

“We try to prevent animals having to be in the shelter in the first place and we work hard to give animals the opportunity to get out,” said Spring Schmidt, acting director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “If they’re actively infectious it becomes more difficult over time because of behavior there’s more opportunities where they engage with other animals who are threatening and then they deteriorate in some ways.”

She said from January to May of this year, St. Louis County Animal Care and Control euthanized 48 dogs for being aggressive and 22 for their behavior.

This comes after concerns in 2018, which started with euthanizations in the single digits and increased as the months wore on. At the time, volunteers said they were afraid of speaking out.

“There’s no doubt we’re on a complete transformational journey as far as this is concerned… We’ve had multiple policy changes, we’ve had additional training opportunities, we’ve had staff mentoring and support, we’ve had we’ve been undergoing an audit,” Schmidt said.

Since January 2019, Schmidt said they’ve implemented a four-person review panel on all euthanizations.

To clarify, the St. Louis County Animal Care and Control is separate entity CARE STL.

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