Animal Humane Society reopening facilities; St. Paul facility will not reopen

The Animal Humane Society announced Monday that all facilities — except for its St. Paul location — are now offering adoption, intake, veterinary care, training, education and other services.

The other locations include Golden Valley, Woodbury and Coon Rapids. According to AHS, the St. Paul facility has been open for 70 years and due to COVID-19 restrictions, the organization doesn't believe it can operate given the building's condition.

AHS says medical services at that site are delivered on a mobile surgery truck that cannot support safe physical distancing. Likewise, the building itself has narrow hallways and cramped areas that don't support physical distancing for employees, volunteers or customers. It also requires costly HVAC and other capital repairs.

"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. After extensive analysis, we are confident that, as a temporary measure, we can more safely and effectively meet the needs of animals and people in our community by shifting programs and resources to our other Twin Cities locations," AHS said in a statement.

In September, AHS plans to open a new full-service veterinary center at the University Avenue location in St. Paul. There, expanded access to training, education and affordable veterinary care will be available to Twin Cities residents.

The organization also says they are in the early stages of a capital campaign to support the construction of a new adoption and animal care campus that will allow them to shift services back to St. Paul.

The impact of COVID-19 has been especially felt at the Animal Humane Society. AHS says 75% of their staffing was furloughed, and four leadership roles have been laid off at the St. Paul location as of Monday. However, just over 68% of those employees returned to work on Monday at all facilities except St. Paul. The remaining furloughed employees at the St. Paul location will be called back to fill openings at other sites as they become available.