UPDATE: Humane Society not swayed by complaints about Zootoo

Thursday, April 9, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 7:34 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 9, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Central Missouri Humane Society has cracked the Top 10 in's pet Shelter Makeover II Contest, which could grant the shelter up to $1 million towards a makeover. But the $1 million prize has recently received greater scrutiny after KSDK, a St. Louis-based NBC affiliate, reported that the contest's 2008 winner, Randy Grim of Stray Rescue in St. Louis, had received only $3,000.

Patty Forister, executive director of the Central Missouri Humane Society, said she is not concerned by the allegations against Zootoo, and although she's sympathetic to Stray Rescue, does not find fault in the timing or funding thus far. Forister said she is more concerned about the possibility that the Humane Society could get the makeover.

"A renovation is not only possible, it could really happen. I'm confident going forward we will work together with Richard Thompson to make it a good experience for CMHS and for the community," Forister said.

Those registered at can now vote on the 10 finalists. The top finisher will receive the makeover, which Forister said the shelter desperately needs.

The previous winner, Stray Rescue, has complained that Zootoo has not lived up to the shelter's expectations. According to an article by the Associated Press the shelter wired Zootoo $170,000 in grants and donations — which helped pay for some introductory work — with the expectation that the funds would be reimbursed. Grim added that Thompson pressured him into asking subcontractors, suppliers and labor unions for donations to the new shelter, which the makeover's general contractor, Dan Green, said he later learned went into the $1 million pot.

According to the KSDK report, Grim and Stray Rescue have only received $3,000 of the $1 million.

 "I am shocked and saddened by the latest information I have just received indirectly regarding Randy and Stray Rescue in St. Louis," Zootoo Founder Richard Thompson said in a journal on Zootoo's Web site. "I've reached out to Randy and plan to meet with Randy and his board to resolve any of these misunderstandings."

It is the "up to" $1 million that may have caused the "misunderstandings" between the two organizations, which Thompson mentioned in his journal Tuesday.

"We love Randy, we love Stray Rescue, and we want to see Randy's dream of his shelter in St. Louis come to life for him. But please keep in mind, Randy's dream was substantially bigger than the 'up to' one million dollar makeover," Thompson wrote.

Grim could not be reached for comment.

The Zootoo Web site provides a document of the rules and regulations of its pet shelter makeover program, which stipulates that participating animal shelters can "receive 'a makeover' worth up to $1 million in cash, service and in-kind benefits." The 'up to' portion was in bold and underlined letters. That document said it was effective March 13, 2009.

"Thompson has been very clear to us that this is not a $1 million check," Forister said. "His mission is to spotlight needs to shelters and their communities. We will work as a team to decide what we will spend on our shelters."

"If you look at the companies that Zootoo is involved in, they are not fly-by companies. They've been around for a long time," she said. "We're pretty confident that we're going to come through with the cash they've promised."

Contest voting starts at noon Monday. Voters must register on the Zootoo Web site and can vote up to 10 times per day until April 19, according to contest rules.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Charles Dudley Jr April 9, 2009 | 1:14 a.m.

Why am I not surprised at the STL facilities allegations.

I still think if CMHS,County Animal Control and a City Dog Pound where sheltered under one roof at the old Sinclair Farm Facility with the largest of buildings that would be the best thing to happen for all stray and abandoned animals in this area.

I still have not heard back from the President of the CMHS Board of Directors on this issue of their negotiations with M.U. on that site.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 9, 2009 | 6:16 a.m.

And you shouldn't hear back until the negotiations are completed, why would you expect otherwise?

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin April 9, 2009 | 12:14 p.m.

BEAT BYTES: News briefs from the Columbia Heart Beat

Amanda Huhman and Libby Burks have been working hard to save the Central Missouri Humane Society. Your online vote between now and APRIL 19 can help make that happen. Visit:

Meanwhile, in honor of Amanda, Libby, the Humane Society, and their efforts, a story for animal lovers everywhere.

Saving Georgia, starring MU Vet Students and the Horton Animal Hospital
by Mike Martin for the Columbia Business Times


I was in my office and my 8-year-old daughter Josie was calling me—almost screaming—from the bottom of the stairs. She ran up before I could stand up from my chair. “Daddy! Something’s wrong with Georgia!” She was nearly in tears.

We hurried downstairs. Georgia—the three-month-old kitten Josie had wanted since the day she could talk—was dragging her hind legs. She was the newest member of the family and uniquely affectionate for a cat. Seeing her struggle was heartbreaking. I almost cried myself.

I grabbed the phone book and thumbed through Veterinarians. I dialed the Horton Animal Hospital, described the symptoms, and with their instructions, Josie and I carefully raced Georgia to their emergency clinic on Paris Road. It was June 23, 2005, and Horton veterinarian Michelle Marshall would diagnose a fatal illness few animal doctors will ever see.

READ THE REST AT The Columbia Heart Beat

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 9, 2009 | 1:14 p.m.

John Schultz why shouldn't I hear or see other wise and even to the point of local news coverage if the negotiations are actually going on wouldn't you think they would want more public backing in the long run.

Oh that's right you don't think you just propose ideas with no real hard sound solutions.


(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 9, 2009 | 1:31 p.m.

Chuck, if there are negotiations ongoing, what purpose does opening that to the public before having a contract serve? See if you can answer that question without an insult, OK?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 9, 2009 | 4:13 p.m.

Why should I answer with out an insult it seems the only thing you understand that gets you thinking. I tried the nice way before and blew over your head.

John Schultz it serves to make the entire community aware of the issue so that some who might want to come forward to donate items,supplies,time,materials and ideas could be utilized.

So simple a Libertarian could understand it.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 9, 2009 | 4:50 p.m.

There is no need for people to donate " items,supplies,time,materials" if there are negotiations afoot and no signed contract. In the meantime, people could take them to the current CMHS shelter, but you would probably get upset about that since it's not clean enough for you. You're not a "big dog" Chuck, so don't expect CMHS or the University to jump to attention when you ask how negotiations are going, if they even are.

Insulting people is not a way to get people thinking, it's just a way for you to get written off and maybe have no responsibility for decisions (is that your secret desire?). Chuck, I don't think you've tried "the nice way" with a single person online here, the Beat Board, or the old Tribune forum, other than Ray. If someone dares to question you on the tiniest detail, you go off the deep end. If you can't handle criticism or questioning of your comments, then best keep yourself to your own forum.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 9, 2009 | 5:53 p.m.

Well said, John.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 9, 2009 | 7:03 p.m.

John Schultz Chairman of The Libertarian Party of Boone County weren't you and Any Rant here the ones crying for "helping hand" type agencies to pick up more of the slack in helping all others who are in need instead of waiting on Government or for things to just happen?

Wow talk about a hypocrite you really are here! Don't you think that any or all of those "helping hand" type agencies would love to see a pre report on something like I am talking about so "maybe they could develop a pre game plan" just in case so they do not get caught off guard if they are able t help at all.

What is it with you Libertarians who can only think off the end of your nose instead of totally outside of the box?

John Schultz is that why you lost your election run because obviously one of your opponents could think were you could not?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 9, 2009 | 7:42 p.m.

That's a really nice article about Georgia, Mike.

Chuck, you'll hear about negotiations regarding Sinclair Farm just like the rest of us will - in the media. Until then, relax. Understand the facility is likely too big and expensive to serve as the county animal shelter.


(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 9, 2009 | 9:38 p.m.

Chuckles, how do you know these various agencies aren't working with CMHS behind the scenes on contingency plans, or must they run all working arrangements by you first?

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 9, 2009 | 9:55 p.m.

Hey Chuck, I volunteer at the shelter. Why don't you try logging off and coming down to help for a change?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 10, 2009 | 4:53 a.m.

Ayn Rand once again sense you have a permanent case of forgetting what I said earlier on this subject.

CMHS has over 30 "adult" employees right?

CMHS has access to hundreds of "adult" community volunteers at any given time correct?

Between those two numbers if all of those collectively cannot maintain the cleanliness of that small shelter then in reality maybe they should look for other lines of work where they will not have to worry some one such as myself pointing out the obvious.

Now instead of being here spewing your "Any Ole Rant" style of crying why don't you get over to that shelter and get cleaning since you are so concerned.

Move along now like a good little community volunteer should because that shelter needs your cleaning ability if you actually possess any.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 10, 2009 | 4:55 a.m.

Mark Foecking I do not think it is too big if they also include in Boone County Animal Control,a City Dog Pound,Second Chance,PAWS and others.

Think bigger than a microbe Mark.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.