First lawsuits filed by former St. Louis Animal Care and Control

Attorney Dan Kolde says the county violated First Amendment rights.

Maria Keena
November 08, 2019 - 8:43 am
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CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) — As promised, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf at least two former volunteers at Saint Louis County Animal Care and Control Shelter.

The suit was filed Thursday, alleging Acting Health Director Spring Schmidt, Vector and Animal Control Director Carole Baskin, and St. Louis County as a whole retaliated against the volunteers because they complained to the County Council about problems in the shelter.

Related: St. Louis County animal shelter practices questioned

Attorney Dan Kolde says that's a violation of the volunteer's First Amendment rights.

St. Louis County is also named in the suit, along with Spring Schmidt, the Acting Health Director and Carole Baskin, Director of Vector and Animal Control.

For weeks, volunteers have asked the council for their intervention. On October 25th those volunteers received an email telling them November 7th they would not have a job, but could reapply.

Related: St. Louis County Animal Control volunteers out by Saturday

All 400-plus volunteers received the email saying there was a reboot, they could reapply for their jobs. As of yesterday, all the volunteers were released and the Health Department released the following statement.

"While we pause the volunteer program for a few days for training, our county employees will be working overtime to make sure the animals are fed, walked and well taken care of."

The statement continues:

"We look forward to a new volunteer program that improves the quality of care to our animals and look forward to current and new volunteers joining us as we move forward."

A July audit revealed dozens of problems at the shelter , unnecessary euthanasias, dogs not being walked often enough and untrained managers.

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