Founder & CEO
Center for Animal Rescue & Enrichment of St. Louis- CARE STL
Location: St. Louis, MO
Weng Horak is known throughout the animal welfare industry for her ability to rescue and rehabilitate city animals.
As the former chief financial officer for Stray Rescue of St. Louis, she led the shelter to be fiscally responsible, pulling from her 24 years of finance experience. As the founder and CEO of CARE STL, also known as the Center for Animal Rescue and Enrichment of St. Louis, she has achieved and maintained no-kill status, increasing the save rate from 55% to 99% in just three years while earning revenue through fundraising to supplement the $600,000 City of St. Louis funding.
CARE STL was founded in 2018 in response to the St. Louis Department of Health’s request for proposals for an animal shelter partner to run the existing city-run animal shelter, which was recording a 55% euthanasia rate. Once awarded the contract, CARE STL became a no-kill shelter by implementing lifesaving partnerships with other like-minded rescue organizations and delivering community outreach programs.
“Our primary focus is the health and safety of the animals in our care – the abused, neglected, surrendered and stray or abandoned homeless companion animals in St. Louis,” said Horak. “We pair these animals with human guardians so that they may better each other through the strength of the human-animal bond.”
The nonprofit organization takes in more than 2,000 animals annually and with Horak at the helm, has attracted and retained 800 volunteers to help staff with shelter operation duties. Horak has also been a pioneer for the staff by creating a Human Resources Department to implement employee policies and procedures, employee benefits, a code of conduct and equal opportunity employment.
“Highly recommended by peers and superiors as a leader with an entrepreneur mindset, Weng is proactive, detail-oriented and exemplifies achieving success in the most challenging situations,” said her staff. “Her person-centric leadership and high-level expertise in P&L responsibilities, cash management, financial management and reporting, internal controls, process improvements, human resources and project management make Weng proficient in creating and implementing business plans and strategic initiatives.”
These initiatives and her successful model have increased live animal outcomes and increased the intake diversion of providing pet guardians with free or low-cost services that enable loved pets to remain in their homes while also providing community pet wellness clinics that offer off-site low-cost microchipping and vaccination services in under-resourced communities.
For her commitment to holding both the pet and human community to ethical standards, Horak has been named a Titan.
Weng was always an outgoing child, climbing rooftops to play games with her friends, and climbing trees while singing "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" at the top of her lungs.