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Owatonna Fleet Farm makes shelter donation

Steele County Humane Society, Fleet Farm, Owatonna, donation
Last week, Owatonna Fleet Farm staff handed a big check to representatives from the Steele County Humane Society. The $3,500 helps the nonprofit establish its first animal shelter, which is under construction across from the Lake Chase Dog Park. Pictured from left are: Becky Bangs (SCHS), Jacob Leavitt and Mandy Radke (Fleet Farm), Diane Nagel (SCHS), Mauricio Munoz (Fleet Farm), Liane Peterson (SCHS), and Michelle Arendt (Fleet Farm). Staff photo by Joni Hubred
Joni Hubred, News Editor

An effort to build Steele County’s first animal shelter got a boost last week from a Fleet Farm company-wide drive to raise funds for animal shelters.

Store representative Mandy Radke said Fleet Farm donates to local charities through a round-up program at the registers. A summer drive will result in dog and cat food donations to animal shelters.

The Steele County Humane Society (SCHS) broke ground last November for a building on State Avenue and has over the past five years raised more than $1.1 million toward a $1.9 million goal. The nonprofit provides food, fostering, vet care, and more for stray animals; it purchased the property across from Lake Chase Dog Park more than six years ago.

“For a town the size of Owatonna, it’s surprising that we haven’t had a shelter before now,” SCHS volunteer Liane Peterson said.

For more than 30 years, the SCHS has operated without a building. Animals go to foster homes, where they are loved and cared for until they find a forever home. The nonprofit provides all veterinary services, including neutering and spaying.

So far, costs have been minimal; once the building opens, the budget will take a considerable jump.

“We’re always fundraising,” Peterson said. “It’s a constant struggle. It’s a lot of money to raise, but it’s definitely worth it. We’re up to the task.”

Volunteer Diane Nagel added, “This is a generous community.”

Donations have ticked up since work started on the new shelter over the winter. The projected completion date is now the end of August.

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