Animal care shelter in Stearns County to close after leaving dogs out in the cold

Dogs were left in subzero temperatures with brutal wind chills.
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An animal care shelter plans to close after facing extensive criticism for leaving dogs outside in subzero temperatures for an extended period of time. 

The Central Minnesota Animal Care and Control in Sauk Rapids was accused of leaving 6-8 dogs outside, unattended and unsheltered for about an hour when the air temperature was around 30 below zero with a wind chill of minus-50 last Thursday, Jan. 31. 

A video of the dogs was posted to Facebook and shared more than 600 times, eventually getting into the hands of the Sauk Rapids Police Department, which sent an officer to the facility only to knock on the door to no response. 

Eventually, police tracked down management and the dogs were let back inside. 

The shelter was forced to suspend operations the next day and animals were relocated to another area facility. 

On Sunday, management from the shelter sent a letter to Stearns County officials indicating it would close within the next three months, the St. Cloud Times reports

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In an email to Bring Me The News, Captain-Patrol Jon Lentz of the Stearns County Sheriff's Office said plans are being made to ensure future strays have a place to go, including the Melrose Vet Clinic, which the county has an existing partnership with. 

"In addition that location we will be exploring our options with other vet clinics or kennels in the area," said Lentz. "Thankfully our need for shelter locations is not a daily or weekly occurrence." 

Minnesota's animal cruelty laws have many levels, one of which is depriving an animal under your care of necessary food, water and/or shelter. 

No citations were issued in this case because the dogs were let back inside and uninjured, albeit quite cold. 

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office says it will not be working with the Central Minnesota Animal Care and Control while it remains open.

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