Keeping people and their pets healthy and safe continues to be a priority at Circle of Friends Animal Shelter.

Shelter staff have been hastening to help pet owners provide food, shelter and diversion for their animals during the coronavirus pandemic, said Lauralee Tupa, Circle of Friends Animal Shelter CEO.

During the past two weeks, the animal shelter has stepped up its contributions to HC Community Care and Food Pantry in Grand Forks, Tupa said. The shelter donates gallon plastic gallon bags filled with dog food or cat food, kitty litter and toys to the food pantry, so its clients can get items for their pets while they’re picking up groceries for their families. Shelter volunteers also are accompanying Meals on Wheels volunteers to pet owners’ homes, and delivering food and other items, for their pets.

Meanwhile, Circle of Friends Animal Shelter staff also are delivering gallon plastic bags filled with pet food to elderly people who typically would buy it at grocery stores, but are social distancing at home because of concerns about being exposed to coronavirus, Tupa said.

Circle of Friends Animal Shelter always is in need of volunteers to help with outreach and programs, and can receive “fear-free shelter training” online, she noted. High school and college age students who want to volunteer can contact the center about the online training for which they’ll receive a certificate upon completion.

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Another way people can volunteer their help to Circle of Friends Animal Shelter during the coronavirus pandemic is to send gifts of food to members of the Grand Forks Police and Grand Forks County Sheriff’s departments, Tupa said. The departments are continuing to bring stray animals to the shelter during the pandemic, something some other law enforcement have stopped doing.

“We are really fortunate to live in this community. The city of Grand Forks and the county of Grand Forks have been phenomenal,” Tupa said, noting that members of the departments are working seven days a week in an effort to help stray animals.

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