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Dogs asked to sit out of the Walk for Animals this year to prevent canine influenza spread

With cases of canine influenza on the rise, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has issued new public guidance to prevent the spread of canine influenza in our community, advising dog lovers to avoid dog-to-dog contact with dogs outside of their households.

This update came in response to concerns about an increase in community spread in dogs not connected to Animal Humane Society. With this new guidance, and to keep local dogs safe and healthy, AHS is making some adjustments to next weekend’s Walk for Animals.

While the Walk is still moving forward, we're asking participants not to bring their dogs this year. Once again, we've been faced with a difficult decision — but the safety of our community comes first. 

For the first time in 52 years, AHS is asking dog lovers to attend the Walk for Animals on May 6 without their canine companions, with the exception of service animals, this year to prevent the spread of canine influenza. 

“As much as we would love to see dogs at the Walk this year, our top priority is always the health and safety of animals in our community,” says AHS President and CEO Janelle Dixon.

AHS temporarily closed its adoption centers in Golden Valley, Coon Rapids, and Woodbury on April 6 to contain an outbreak of canine influenza. Since then, AHS has worked closely with the Board of Animal Health and private practice veterinarians to monitor the spread of canine influenza in the community. The new guidance comes in response to concerns about an increase in community spread in dogs not connected to AHS. To date, the total number of diagnosed cases outside of AHS remains in the single digits.

The May 6 event includes a festival with food, vendors, music, games, and other fun activities. Although dogs will have to stay home this year, cats, critters, and other pets are still welcome at the event. Past Walks have included rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, goats, ponies, chickens, ducks, snakes, spiders, ants, a giant tortoise, and even a wallaby.

“We encourage our supporters to come to the event and celebrate with their family, friends, and other pets,” says Dixon. "The outpouring of support we’ve received from our supporters since our closure has been incredible. We know our community will still come together to make this a fun, memorable event — and a successful fundraiser.”

The Walk for Animals is Animal Humane Society’s largest fundraiser of the year—and this year it is more important than ever. Every dollar raised supports vital AHS programs and makes second chances possible for animals in Minnesota and beyond.

If you’d like to join us at the Walk, there’s still time to register and fundraise. But even if we won’t see you on Walk Day, please consider making a donation today to support the animals who are still counting on us.