Innsbrook rules that animal shelter made 'major' change to its site plan

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 2/16/24

The Innsbrook MO Village Board of Trustees is making Wags and Whiskers Animal Shelter go through public hearings to discuss its new septic lagoon.

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Innsbrook rules that animal shelter made 'major' change to its site plan


The Innsbrook Board of Trustees voted unanimously that the Wags and Whiskers animal shelter being built has made a major change to its plan, and will require two public hearings and further approval before allowing work to continue at the site.

It’s another delay on a project that was initially approved in 2022.

Trustees were acting on a recommendation from Innsbrook's planning and zoning board that Wags and Whiskers had made a major change to its plan by adding a septic lagoon to its property. That passed the board with only one no vote.

Innsbrook Village Planner Todd Streiler issued a statement from the village, which said “Innsbrook Planning and Zoning Commissioners are assisting Wags and Whiskers in conforming to village guidelines and ordinances.”

He declined to be interviewed further.

At issue is the septic lagoon.

According to Kathy Caton, vice president of the Wags and Whiskers board, the septic lagoon would not handle any animal waste.

That waste would be bagged and placed in a dumpster, similar to how other animal shelters operate, Caton said.

The septic system would only handle human waste from the one bathroom at the new shelter.

Waste would be treated in septic system, and then the water would enter the lagoon.

“We’re not opposed to a public hearing because we’ve had nothing but support,” Caton said. “We’re totally in favor of a public hearing because I think it will show the support that Wags and Whiskers has in the community.”

But, she said, there is a concern that Innsbrook will not approve the lagoon.

“I’ve heard several people say that they were never going to approve a septic drip system going on commercial property.”

The system has been approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

“Even though DNR approve it, it is subject to local approval as well,” Caton said. 

If the septic lagoon is not approved, Caton said the only alternative is to install a septic drip system.

PALS animal shelter up in Lincoln County had a drip system that failed in a couple of years and they had to go to a lagoon,” Caton said. “So as far as I know, the only option we would have would be to put in a septic drip field, which engineers have told us will fail in two to three years.

“If it fails in two to three years, then I don’t know that we have any options. If they will never let us use a lagoon, we might have to shut the animal shelter down.”

Despite the delays, Caton said the Wags and Whiskers board remains committed to opening the shelter.

“The animal shelter is so needed in Warren County,” she said. “We’re hoping that the village will sit down and work thi sout in a reasonable fashion. There shouldn’t be any conflict. It should be neighbor to neighbor that we sit down and work this out.”

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at

innsbrook, wags and whiskers, animal shelter, trustee, plan