Weather Forecast


Local animal rescue rebrands as Homeward Animal Shelter

Heather Klefstad cuddles "Fluffers," a 4-year-old part Siamese cat at Homeward Animal Shelter in north Fargo. The shelter officially rebranded itself today. Photo by Helmut Schmidt

FARGO – A longtime metro-area animal shelter has rebranded itself.

The former Humane Society of Fargo-Moorhead is now the Homeward Animal Shelter, officials announced Thursday.

The new name makes it clear that the facility is devoted to animal rescue and not tied to the national Humane Society, Homeward Executive Director Nukhet Hendricks said.

“It’s a local organization. It’s a local service. And it’s a local mission,” said Pat Traynor, president of Dakota Medical Foundation. “Let’s make sure everyone knows you have wonderful animals here” for adoption.

Hendricks said “there was a huge misperception with the public” that the shelter, which has been operating since 1966, is under the umbrella of the Humane Society of the United States. The mix-up has caused the shelter problems with donors.

Some people thought that by donating to the national group, some funds would filter down to local shelters. It does not, Hendricks said. Instead, that cash goes to the national group’s lobbying efforts at the national level.

Other people don’t like the mission of the national group, which focuses on animal rights issues versus sheltering and finding homes for lost or abandoned dogs, cats and other pets, she said.

“We never were, and we never will be” affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States, Hendricks said.

Homeward has focused on rescuing animals since it was started. Hendricks said the group will now be more proactive, aiming to eventually spay and neuter all animals it shelters. A staff member also trains dogs at the shelter, and provides one hour of training at the new homes of those animals.

Homeward Animal Shelter rescued more than 800 dogs and cats in 2013, taking 46 percent of the adoptable animals from local pounds.

Other animals are rescued by groups such as the Fargo-based groups 4 Luv of Dog Rescue and CATS Cradle Shelter.

Homeward is a “no kill” shelter, Hendricks said.

Animals are not euthanized unless absolutely necessary, she said. That is about 1 percent of the animals that are sheltered.

The shelter boasts a 100 percent record of adoptions, she said.

All dogs and cats are examined for medical issues, vaccinated and microchipped, she said. Most of the animals are spayed or neutered.

Much of the cost for prepping the animals for adoption is borne by the shelter. For example, the average cost of medical care and training for a dog is about $700, Hendricks said. Those who adopt a pet will pay $164 plus tax for a dog and $109 plus tax for a cat.

The shelter has three full-time employees, 11 part-timers, and a pool of about 125 volunteers, Hendricks said.

The Homeward shelter holds 40 to 45 animals, and another 45 to 50 are in foster homes at any given time. Hendricks said her goal is to build a larger shelter, ideally one that can hold 100 to 200 animals.

The shelter is at 1201 28th Ave. N., Fargo.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

(701) 241-5583