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

April 26, 2023
Walk for Animals

April 26, 2023

For the first time in 52 years, Animal Humane Society will hold a Walk for Animals celebration without dogs in attendance.  

AHS is asking dog lovers to attend the Walk for Animals on May 6 without their canine companions this year to prevent the spread of canine influenza. This decision aligns with new guidance released today by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health advising dog lovers to avoid direct dog-to-dog contact with dogs outside their household. Service animals are the only dogs that will be allowed at the Walk this year.

“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 released today 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 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. 

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.” 

AHS will share additional Walk for Animals updates with its supporters by email and on the Walk for Animals website