Our History

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Original ACC Building

The Early Years

The early years (60's,70's and 80's) of what would become the Animal Care Center were incredibly challenging due to disparate cultural attitudes, lack of funding, shortage of supplies, and absence of professional assistance. St. John had not yet become a significant tourist destination and the infrastructure was underdeveloped. Since no physical shelter had yet been established, individual animal advocates housed injured, abused, and abandoned animals in their own homes. Personal phone numbers were distributed for citizens to call when animal emergencies were discovered.

Small island dance parties were sometimes held to raise money for animals in need. Animal advocates donated funds for food and medical supplies. Sometimes, small bake sales were held in front of Connections. It was here that adoptions took place and travel for animals to St. Thomas for medical care was coordinated. Only on Tuesdays when Dr. Saunders or on Wednesdays when Dr. Andy Williamson came from St. Thomas was veterinary care available locally. 

The Original ACC

The original ACC was a small empty shack sitting on government property where the ACC currently stands. The ACC was financed by donation boxes placed at the many retail stores and restaurants in Cruz Bay and small fund raisers. It was in the late 90’s, that the “shack” was turned into a genuine shelter. Funds were solicited, and volunteers turned into construction workers. After two years of planning, soliciting funds and community labor, the new shelter was completed in 2002 and opened for the animals in 2003. It was also during this time period, that the disparate animal advocates turned into an official organization with designated officers.

ACC in 2004

The ACC was barely making ends meet and in October of 2004 when the ACC's funds were completely exhausted, the shelter closed its doors. In January of 2005, a group of concerned St. Johnians banded together quickly re-establishing the board and with extraordinary energy pulled off a major fundraiser, "Paws and Claws Masquerade", which allowed the shelter to reopen.

Since that time, the ACC has developed three major fundraisers that barely sustain the operations let alone provide for future expansion. Wagapalooza, No Fleas Please, and Winter Gala are the main stay of the ACC’s fundraisers. These events along with donations, collection boxes and smaller fundraisers allow the ACC’s doors to remain and provide funding for the ACC's programs.

Click Here to view all of our upcoming events.

ACC in 2005

2005 was a watershed year for the St. John Animal Care Center. Since 2005, the ACC has had its ups and downs, but it's mostly ups. While funding remains tight, the shelter has remained constantly open since 2005 providing shelter to kitties, cats, puppies and dogs as well as supporting programs like the spay and neuter and our feral cat program.

The shelter remains a "no kill" shelter and looks forward to the day of an expanded shelter in the country but for now the ACC remains committed and focused on keeping open the doors of our little shelter in Cruz Bay, and on caring for as many of the island's cats and dogs as we are able.

Read the ACC's complete history here.

ACC Today

To find out more about what the ACC is doing today, visit the our shelter page.