Situation Update

Situation Update Related to COVID-19 Impact

We are all facing uncertainty and anxiety right now as we work together to manage the impact of COVID-19. At Great River Rescue, we are trying to balance the importance of the service we provide, with the restrictions placed on us by the government, and the safety our staff, volunteers, and general public. Currently, the shelter remains closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t working. Some of our staff have been temporarily laid-off, some have had their hours significantly reduced. Those that are still working, are providing support to our foster caregivers, coordinating vaccinations and other medical services for pets, caring for animals still in the shelter for medical or behavioral reasons, taking-in animals on a limited basis, maintaining the facilities, conducting community outreach, and more. We are still working with the local pounds to take in stray animals so they will not be euthanized. Thankfully, we have many potential foster homes lined up and we are communicating with them as needs arise.

One of our biggest challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak deals with our inability to spay/neuter pets. We are proud to maintain a 100% spay/neuter policy, but these unprecedented times have forced us to make a decision that strays from our norm, but gives us the best chance to keep operating and saving lives. Until the Governor lifts the suspension on spay/neuter surgeries, we will be adopting out animals that are not spayed/neutered using a voucher system. For the time being, this means animals in foster-to-adopt homes will be able to be officially adopted by their caregivers. We will be communicating directly with foster-to-adopt caregivers to arrange their adoptions. We will be seeking a spay/neuter deposit for these animals, but will not be charging an adoption fee. For the future, it means we will be able to reopen the shelter as soon as it is safe to do so. We will post further updates as soon as we set a date for reopening.

Although the shelter is temporarily closed, animals need Great River Rescue’s mission to be protected now, more than ever.  Let’s not forget that in times of societal chaos, it is the most vulnerable who suffer the greatest—and the pets in our community certainly fall in that category.  We ask for your continued support during this time so that we can help our furry friends now, and so that we are strong and ready to welcome them back to our shelter once this ordeal is over. We have set up a special fundraiser on our Facebook page to help us maintain operations, and be able to return at full capacity once this is all over. If you are not on Facebook, please send your checks in the mail to Great River Rescue, 1612 Carr Lake Rd SE, Bemidji, MN 56601, and write “emergency operations fund” in the memo line.

Follow this link to our Facebook Fundraiser | Click Here

Thank you all for your patience, understanding and support during this time. We are all in this together and will get through it together.


Brandon Mustful
Executive Director

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