Itasca County Animal Shelter In Trouble

By KBJR News 1

April 7, 2011 Updated Apr 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM CDT

Coleraine, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - Inadequate housing and funding may be spelling doom for the Star of the North Animal Shelter.

It seems for the animal shelter in Coleraine...hard times can only get harder.

"The problems have been going on for years unfortunately. But just recently, things have gotten really, really bad," said Kim Olson, secretary of the board of directors for the Star of the North Animal Shelter.

The majority of the 'things' getting bad have to do with the building the shelter is located in.

Originally built for office use, poor ventilation is causing health problems for both animals and staff.

Other safety issues throughout the facility have been addressed, but workers at the shelter compare repairs to the building to that of an aging car.

"You finally get to the point where you know it's a losing proposition; you just cannot keep up with all the fix its," said Luann Hansen, volunteer coordinator with the Coleraine animal shelter

Along with an unfit building, continued tightening of local budgets has dramatically reduced funding from both the county and donations to the shelter.

"It's tough, because the economy is so hard that everyone is having to make cuts. It's not just one persons fault but we need to come together to find a solution," said Olson.

Many of the animals at the shelter have been relocated to rescue agencies all over Minnesota who responded to the Star of the North cry for help in finding homes.

"I can't even describe the feeling of gratitude of the emails and phone calls and everything we got from the shelters and rescues...just everybody and the willingness to come in and try to help," said Stephanie Voltz, president of the Star of the North Board of Directors.

Contracts at the shelter expire at the end of the month, but the doors could close as soon as this weekend.

Staff is working around the clock to find homes for the animals at the shelter, something they've done tirelessly for more than 30 years.

"To give your heart and soul in to something every single day, to come to this...is really hard," said Olson.

The Star of the North Animal shelter will NOT be euthanizing animals at the shelter due to their doors closing.

This weekend they are scheduled to be at the Duluth home show, continuing their mission to find homes for their animals.

Donations and volunteers volunteer foster homes for potential upcoming puppy and kitten season are much needed by the Star of the North.

To find out more about how you can donate funds, materials and time, you can log on to the Star of the North website.