As the Friends of Animals Humane Society in Cloquet prepares to close its doors by Aug. 5, Superior's animal shelter is lending a hand.
Eleven cats made the trip Monday, July 16, from Cloquet to Superior, courtesy of the Humane Society of Douglas County. The move left 23 adoptable animals at Friends of Animals - nine dogs and 14 cats - as well as about 25 unadoptable cats that have yet to be spayed or neutered.
Quarters will be tight at the Superior shelter, which was housing 40 cats of its own, but staff will make room for the newcomers, which must also be altered. They have discussed the option of taking in more of the Cloquet animals in shifts.
"We're willing to do whatever it takes to take care of these animals," said shelter director Sheila Keup with the Humane Society of Douglas County.
She encouraged other shelters to help out as well.
"We're willing to share," Keup said.
Ever since Friends of Animals interim director Mary Nelson stepped into the role eight months ago, Douglas County has been offering support.
"The Superior shelter you definitely want to model yourself after," Nelson said. "Not only the facility, but the people as well."
When the announcement went out that the Cloquet shelter would be closing, Keup reached out right away.
"She beat me to the call," Nelson said.
As of Monday, Douglas County was the only Humane Society that had offered to take animals from Cloquet. Nelson said they also have calls out to a network of shelters further south that assisted them over the winter.
The Friends of Animals Humane Society Board of Directors announced last week it would close its doors no later than Aug. 5. Remodeling of its new facility and other factors gave the Humane Society too much debt to sustain shelter operations. By shuttering operations now, the board aims to pour money from its public appeal into paying off the mortgage and finishing the facility to healthy standards.
"Our goal is to pay the bills and mortgage and ensure we have our facility and our future," Nelson said, planting the seeds for a rebirth.
An estimated $150,000 would be needed to do that. Another $200,000 would be needed to pay for operations through the end of the year.
The Friends of Animals has made a public appeal and donations are being taken, but finding a safe haven for the shelter's dogs and cats is the top priority.
Adoptable animals are available, and Nelson encouraged anyone interested to stop by as soon as possible. The approval process can take up to 48 hours as they look for that perfect fit.
"It's always been our goal to find the right home for our animals," Nelson said. "We want to find them the best homes."
The shelter at 1001 Avenue B in Cloquet is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More information is available on the Friends of Animals Humane Society Facebook page, by calling 218-879-1655 or via email at email@example.com
Monetary donations may also be sent to Friends of Animals, P.O. Box 706, Cloquet, MN 55720.