The Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society (BENCHS) is a local, independent, 501c3 non-profit in Mankato, Minnesota. BENCHS was established in 1969 and in 2010 BENCHS opened its doors at its current location on North River Drive.

Each year, BENCHS cares for thousands of homeless, injured, abandoned, and abused animals. We are a limited admissions shelter, caring for and treating all healthy and treatable pets. BENCHS utilizes best practices and participates in lifesaving programs.

The first community service BENCHS provided to the public, the BENCHS Food Shelf, began in 2006. Donations of pet food are received from area businesses and community members. Community members are able to come twice monthly for pet food.

In 2017 BENCHS began partnering with other rescues to transport dogs and cats to Minnesota from southern states. Not only have we found homes for numerous dogs and cats who were homeless, we also began taking on more heart-worm positive dogs. For dogs in Texas a heart-worm positive result is a deadly sentence in many shelters. With the support of our donors, we are able to give them a second chance on life.

In 2020, the cities of Mankato and North Mankato began contracting with BENCHS to provide animal care services on their behalf. We now take in an average of 57 stray and lost animals a month. We are proud of the fact that over 200 cats and dogs were reunited with their families in 2022. Being microchipped is the key to a successful reunification.

Helping to control the pet population has long been a part of the BENCHS vision. For many years, we have required that our adopted cats and dogs be spayed or neutered. We partnered with many other agencies to perform those surgeries for us. In 2020, we remodeled Elin’s Surgical Suite at the shelter and hired a part-time veterinarian to perform those surgeries in-house. We are now able to perform almost all of our own spay/neuter surgeries, with the exception being those needing a specialized surgery at a vet clinic.

In 2021, we broadened that vision by opening our BENCHS Outreach Clinic for Rescues in July. We are currently servicing five areas rescue organizations by performing low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for the animals in their care. Surgeries are performed by our two in-house veterinarians. In 2022, BENCHS completed 1,151 spays and neuters on rescue cats and dogs!

The Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society is not only about caring for animals, but also about humanity. The love and comfort of a pet sustains a person through the most difficult of times, providing unconditional friendship and love. Properly caring for a pet instills in children a sense of responsibility and compassion which remains throughout their lives. The services of an animal shelter reach all segments of society, from the wealthy to the destitute, from preschoolers to the retired, and those who are shut in.

The shelter operates with limited paid staff, and relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers to maintain quality care for the pets it accepts and places. The only funding or support BENCHS receives from national animal welfare or humane associations comes through grant applications for new programs. We rely heavily on the help of our community. With the generous donations from our members, we are able to provide shelter, food and love to animals awaiting a permanent home. Now is the time to get involved and make a lifesaving difference.

Our Mission

Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding loving forever homes for homeless cats and dogs, using spay/neuter programs to reduce the number of unwanted pets, and reuniting lost/found animals with their owners.

Our Core Values


  • Show Compassion
  • Encourage Teamwork
  • Exhibit Honesty and Integrity
  • Strive for Continuous Improvement