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  Our History
 

Joan Costello may not be a celebrity, but she has thousands of admirers. Had it not been for her compassion, vision and hard work, Open Door Animal Sanctuary would not exist today. And if not for Open Door, literally thousands of injured, abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs would have perished either in the elements or at the hands of other animal organizations.

In the early 1970s, Joan rented property in Chesterfield where she housed unwanted animals. Together with other concerned animal lovers, she also began a 24-hour-a-day rescue mission that covered territories other organizations could not cover. When word of her efforts became public, people brought her more animals. The operation grew very quickly.

Soon Joan teamed up with Carol Perkins, wife of the late Marlin Perkins, former host of Wild Kingdom and director of the St. Louis Zoo. Together the two women built a support system for the animals including dedicated veterinarians and volunteers. They moved the operation to House Springs, and in 1975 they decided to incorporate. Open Door Animal Sanctuary was born.

Joan and her comrades hired a staff and held fund raisers. People began to recognize Open Door for all its hard work. Some sent donations. Others volunteered. Open Door continued to grow. With Open Door's increased population came financial hardship. Its continued existence weighed heavily on the generosity of supporters. With a loyal membership, however, Open Door always managed to prevail. One supporter, George Menos, went as far as to pay off Open Door's mortgage and lease it back to the sanctuary for $1.00 a year. This continued until late 1990 when a generous donation allowed Open Door to purchase the property back from Menos. Open Door grew even stronger.

Although it has experienced many changes over the years, Open Door remains true to its original principles. Every animal that enters the Open Door has a home. Every animal has its physical and emotional needs satisfied. And thanks to the efforts of Joan Costello and those who shared her dream, every animal gets another chance at life.

 
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Copyright © 2006 Open Door Animal Sanctuary. All rights reserved.