ASHLAND — County commissioners, city council members, the mayor, community members, and a handful of dogs gathered Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Ashland County Dog Shelter.

“This is a great day for the county and the community. And like we said, it just gives the life of Ashland County another great facility. It’s just a beautiful place to be,” Commissioner Denny Bittle said.

The new shelter will be around 8,000 square feet and will boast heated indoor and outdoor floors, an air cycling system, a kitchen for preparing dog food, easy access to the outdoors for Ashland’s pups, and more. Bittle described it as “the most modern dog shelter in the state”.

Officials have said the new dog shelter will cost around $1.5 million.

A new dog shelter was needed because the current location is frequently at max capacity, Bittle said.

Attendees of the groundbreaking heard from a variety of speakers, including Ashland County Community Foundation President Jim Cutright, who helped the nonprofit Homeward Bound raise over $600,000 for the new shelter.

“Over 400 individual donors chose to make gifts to this and it’s because they trusted them (Homeward Bound). They realized they would use those dollars in the way they said they would,” Cutright said.

At the end of the event, county commissioners, donors, and organizers grabbed shovels and tossed dirt onto the site of the future shelter.

The groundbreaking is a significant milestone for the new dog shelter that commissioners started working on over four years ago. The new shelter will be built by Simonson Construction Services, and officials hope it will be finished by December.

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