ST PAUL, Minn. — An animal shelter in St. Paul won't be reopening its doors after closing in March due to the coronavirus.
Animal Humane Society President and CEO Janelle Dixon announced on Monday that the St. Paul location won't be reopening because they wouldn't be able to meet the new requirements to make the facility safe and functional under COVID-19 restrictions.
According to a news release from the organization, the St. Paul shelter had become "functionally obsolete" even before the pandemic began, and the AHS had been working on a plan to replace it for years, but the additional restrictions have made it impossible to salvage due to its narrow hallways and cramped areas.
The organization said four people working at the location were laid off on Monday and 19 other employees, who also worked at the St. Paul location, remain furloughed. The animals, along with other programs and resources, have been moved to other locations around the Twin Cities.
“We know our home in St. Paul holds a special place in the hearts of our community – and we remain committed to the city where we were founded more than 140 years ago,” said Dixon in the release.
In September, AHS will open a new full-service center at its University Avenue location, and they're in the early stages of a capital campaign to help build a new adoption and animal care campus. The organization didn't specify where the new campus would be, but added that it would "allow AHS to shift services back to St. Paul."
“The decisions we are announcing today are driven by the economic and public health impact of COVID1-9,” said Dixon. “Despite these challenges, Animal Humane Society remains financially secure thanks to the strong support of our community and the dedication of our remarkable team.”
AHS also announced it will be suspending its Now Boarding program in south Minneapolis starting on July 15. Operations will remain suspended "for the foreseeable future," according to the release.