Animal Humane Society shelter in St. Paul to shut its doors

The Now Boarding facility in South Minneapolis will also suspend operations.
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St. Paul’s Animal Humane Society shelter will close due to COVID-19, while less travel means the pet boarding facility in Minneapolis will also suspend operations.

The Animal Humane Society announced changes in the two facilities Monday. According to the announcement, AHS had been limiting its operations to essential services during COVID-19, furloughing 75 percent of staff.

While 231 of 339 AHS staff members have returned to work at sites in Golden Valley, Coon Rapids and Woodbury, its St. Paul Shelter will not reopen.

According to AHS, the 70 year-old building cannot provide a safe environment during COVID-19. Medical services on the site are performed in a surgery truck, which cannot accommodate social distancing. 

“In truth, the St. Paul shelter had become functionally obsolete even before COVID-19 struck, and we’ve been actively working on a plan to replace it for several years. We can no longer wait,” AHS CEO Janelle Dixon wrote in the announcement.

Four people at the St. Paul shelter were laid off, while an additional 19 remain furloughed.

In September, AHS will open a new center on University Avenue in St. Paul.

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The AHS for-profit subsidiary Now Boarding in south Minneapolis will also close for the “foreseeable future,” effective July 15.

While daycare and grooming services recently resumed, they have not provided enough revenue for the facility, which also relies on overnight boarding for pets.

“Unfortunately, with most travel halted and many people working from home, Now Boarding is operating at a fraction of its pre-COVID levels and far below its total capacity,” Dixon wrote.

As a result of the closure, 31 positions with Now Boarding will be eliminated. AHS is currently working to determine its options for resuming operations when the COVID-19 crisis ends. 

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