The Wentzville Board of Aldermen will discuss the city’s contract with Animal Talk Medical Center during the regular board meeting Wednesday, January 28.
On January 22, KMOV news aired a report about citizen concerns and complaints against the company, which is owned by Dr. Mark Lucas.
The Facebook page St. Charles County Watch expressed concerns about the numbers of pets being euthanized at the shelter. Several pet owners shared stories on the page about pets with collars and tags being labelled as strays, about owners not being contacted even though their pets were microchipped or wearing tags and being charged excessive fees for boarding.
The city’s original contract with Animal Talk, dated March 1, 2013, is not set to expire until February 27, 2017. In the scope of services, the contract states:
- That the shelter separate privately boarded animals from the animals brought in by law enforcement officers, and that sick animals be quarantined from healthy animals.
- That animals that are put up for adoption or are returned to their owners be microchipped.
- That after six days, the city would prefer–but does not require–the animals be put up for adoption or “transferred” to other adoption programs.
“The City desires (not required) the Contractor to make every effort affording the animals to be adopted versus euthanized,” the contract states. The contract also requires a monthly report of the animals brought in to the facility by police along with “the disposition of each animal.”
The city of O’Fallon also has a contract with Animal Talk Medical Center. The O’Fallon contract requires the shelter to send a certified letter to the owner of a pet brought in to the shelter, if the owner can be determined. Animal Talk receives $57,000 for providing services to O’Fallon.
Both cities’ contracts are with Animal Talk Medical Center LLC, a for-profit entity.
Animal Talk Shelter Inc. was created and registered as a Missouri nonprofit organization in 2012. The Secretary of State’s office lists Marjorie Lucas as president and Mark Lucas as one of the directors. The original incorporation papers state the purpose of the nonprofit “to house and give emergency medical care to lost and abandoned pets. To find suitable caring homes for lost or abandoned pets.” The shelter was awarded charity status by the IRS in 2014.
On January 18, Animal Talk Shelter posted this message on their Facebook page: “ANIMAL TALK SHELTER IS NOW A NO KILL SHELTER SPREAD THE WORD.”