Pet Adoption Center

PetAdoptionCenterThe St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center opened in November 1999 as the home to the Division of Humane Services. Since that opening, the division has been dedicated toward improving the lives of animals in our community by:

  • Sheltering and adopting animals into loving, forever homes.
  • Working with prospective owners to enhance animal welfare.
  • Reuniting lost pets with their owners.
  • Enforcing St. Charles County's Animal Control Ordinance.

Open Admissions Shelter

The St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center is an Open Admissions Shelter, which means that we accept authorized stray animals regardless of their adoptability. Owner-relinquished pets are individually assessed based on current shelter resources at the time of surrender.. All stray dogs and cats are required by law to be held for a minimum of five business days, and 10 business days if the animal has identification. Once that legal hold time has been satisfied, we make all healthy, behaviorally sound animals available for adoption.

Time Limit

We do not give adoptable animals a time limit. We make them available for as long as we have space, and as long as they remain physically and mentally healthy. We also work with other area shelters and rescue groups, and have a very active foster parent program, which helps us to place more animals - including those with special needs.

Discussion:  Open Admission vs. No-Kill Shelters

The Pet Adoption Center has a very high adoption rate, but, not all of the animals we take in can or should be adopted to the public. Some dogs and cats come to us with serious health or behavioral problems. For example, dogs that are extremely aggressive to people or that have a history of biting are not made available for adoption.

The difference between No-Kill and Open Admissions shelters can be confusing to many people. The term "No-Kill" often eases the mind and sounds more positive to caring individuals, whereas, "Open Admissions" is something vague and not easily understood. First and foremost, the caring and dedicated staff that works at Open Admissions Shelters never wants to have to put any animals to sleep, often going above and beyond to explore all possible avenues to get an animal adopted. Adopting pets out is one of the most important and rewarding responsibilities we have at the Pet Adoption Center. It is the reason that our staff loves their jobs. We feel that all animals deserve a happy, safe and forever home - regardless of where they came from or how they got to us. However, the reality is that this is often not a choice, but a decision that must be made in order to protect the animal or the public.

Open Admissions Shelters

  • Do not turn away authorized stray animals, regardless of their health or behavior.
  • Are often the last resort for frustrated owners needing to surrender a pet.
  • Often will perform euthanasia at an owner's request.

No-Kill Shelters 

  • Have the ability to turn animals away when they are at capacity. This option forces pet owners to take animals to another shelter or make other arrangements when they feel they can no longer keep their animal.
  • Can be very selective about which animals they accept and deny. No Kill Shelters may choose to take in only those animals they are certain they can adopt to others.
  • Will euthanize animals suffering from severe medical or behavioral problems

Working Together

Both of these organizations serve the public in important ways. Adoptions from either type of shelter ultimately helps animals, as do donations and volunteering. Discounting one type of organization over the other only ends up hurting the animals that need our help. Understanding how both of these facilities work and why they help is good for the entire community - different organizations can work together to help to resolve overpopulation issues in their community. However, it is important that all shelters and rescue groups remain open and honest about their policies and limitations to truly help the region.