ST. LOUIS — The Humane Society of Missouri hopes to increase animal adoption by 20 percent under a new arrangement that will allow it to showcase homeless pets in storefronts at two area shopping centers.
The Humane Society, the state’s largest animal shelter, said Thursday it is taking over management and financial responsibility for two pet-adoption stores known as Adopt-A-Stray, which were previously run by a group that goes by the same name.
Former Adopt-A-Stray director Brook Dubman said his group adopted out 7,000 homeless animals over five years. But while members of the group had “big animal hearts,” he said, they were inexperienced in the shelter business.
“It costs a lot of money per animal,” he said. “We decided to give it to the Humane Society, who will do a much better job of running things and adopt out more animals.”
His group came up with the idea of opening animal adoption “stores” as an alternative to euthanizing unwanted animals.
He said convenience and walk-in traffic were key to the success of the stores in Westfield shopping centers in St. Peters and Chesterfield, western suburbs of St. Louis.
The Humane Society will get adoptable animals from their own shelters, as well as the same places Adopt-a-Stray tapped — the St. Louis city and county animal shelters, Humane Society President Kathy Warnick said.
Only the name will change. The new stores will be known as Adopt & Shop.
Warnick said the Humane Society will be able to operate the stores more efficiently because of its expertise in animal welfare and larger staff, including 18 full-time veterinarians. It spays, neuters and adopts thousands of animals each year.
Before they can be adopted, all animals will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and receive identifying microchips.
She said pedestrian traffic will give the animals greater visibility and a much better chance for adoption.
Warnick said she believes the Humane Society of Missouri is the first in the country to offer adoptions in a shopping center.