High Society

It's flush with money and has a grand new building, but the Humane Society of Missouri is doing little to prevent the growing euthanasia rate for unwanted animals

He says the organization is considering other things as part of its long-range plan, such as whether it should groom and board animals to provide "total animal services for the community." It could also expand its animal-holding capacity into 10,000 square feet of currently unused space, but that would require raising more money for the annual budget, he says, to pay for staff, food, utilities and other costs associated with operating more pens. He wants the organization to consider hiring counselors to help families cope with the loss of a pet or deciding whether to have one euthanized.

Throop says he expects that the strategic plan will result in new ways to reduce the euthanasia numbers. Although the plan identified certain categories such as euthanasia and increased rates of spay/neuter to address, it is now up to seven "action units," led by senior Humane Society employees, who must come up with more detailed plans and how to implement them. Those action units will also be asked to consider broader issues surrounding the society, such as: "What do you want the society to look like five years from now? Do you want to have us doing what we're doing now, which is the same thing we were doing five years ago? We're bigger now, but we're doing the same thing we were doing five years ago," Throop says. "Or are there other things we can begin to accomplish?"

The process could take a while, if the strategic plan is any gauge: That took two years.

Throop also says addressing the metro area's euthanasia rate will require collaboration with other organizations. But he acknowledges that other organizations and agencies don't have the same wealth or influence as the Humane Society.

"We're the ones to tackle it," he says. "There's no doubt about it."

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