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Humane Society asks city of Cloquet for help

Even though Friends of Animals Humane Society has seen an increase of revenue from last year, workers are still concerned for the future of business, and the future of their furry friends.

Even though Friends of Animals Humane Society has seen an increase of revenue from last year, workers are still concerned for the future of business, and the future of their furry friends.

“We have some very clear challenges ahead of us,” FOA Executive Director Cindy Haglin told Cloquet City Councillors Tuesday..

The animal shelter saw a $78,000 increase in revenue for the year 2015, along with a nearly $11,000 decrease in expenses. However Haglin said they are still in a $5,000 deficit from last year and will need more funding.

One of the shelter’s biggest challenges is space. There isn’t enough.

“We simply don’t fit in our building anymore,” Haglin said. “The condition of our building is deteriorating, and we will be looking at either rebuilding, renovating, or moving before very much more time goes by.”

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Although the shelter takes stray animals from all of Carlton County, most of the 30 townships in the county don’t pay for shelter services.

Some counselors believe this puts the city in a unique, but also stressful position.

“There is no norm for what cities can do to help,” said City Administrator Brian Fritsinger. “Some cities build shelters, other cities contract services … I wish I could say yes, there is a clear solution across the board.”

One of Haglin’s proposed solutions to the shelter’s money concerns, without putting too much pressure on the city council, is to have utility bills waived for the business. However that opens up the concern other businesses in trouble will ask to do the same.

Fritsinger added while this option would be legal, it may not be the best option.

Haglin noted during the meeting that cutting staff or wages was not a feasible option.

“It’s easy to point a finger at wages because it’s such a huge piece of our pie,” Haglin said. “But it’s very difficult to have a clean animal shelter with healthy animals in it without adequate staff.”

The city council and the shelter have tabled the discussion for now, while more data is collected for the shelter’s needs and expenses.

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