CALGARY -- Close to three dozen staff, volunteers and dignitaries were at the Calgary Humane Society in the city’s southeast on Thursday to break ground on an $12-million expansion of the facility. 

The current facility was once considered a leading edge, state-of-the-art centre which put Calgary on the map for animal welfare.

“We’re very proud of it, it served us very well for 14 years.” said executive director Carrie Fritz.

“When we celebrate our centennial in 2022, we’ll have helped over 100,000 animals find their second chance.”

Since CHS opened the current 44,000-sq.-ft. facility in 2006 — in the 4400 block of 110th Avenue S.E. — there have been several advancements in treating animal infectious diseases along with animal behaviour intervention, enrichment and socialization. 

Fritz said advancements in the science of animal sheltering can enrich an animals' life.

“Just those minor changes in their environment, can make a big difference," she said.

Planning for the renovation has been in the works for the last 10 years and the project is moving forward thanks to support from the community and a gift from the estate of the late Dr. Bernard Lundberg. So far, about $8 million has been raised, meaning CHS will need to raise another $4.5 million over the next two years.

The renovations will help CHS better position itself to meet and exceed the standards of animal care. CHS will have a separate exam room, surgery suite, dental suite, maternity ward, neonatal ward and a recovery suite.

Fritz added that it’s incredibly distressing and heartbreaking for the CHS team, foster parents, volunteers to watch an animal decline in a shelter setting when they know what they have to do.

“We have saved so this project can be completed successfully and operations can be sustained over the long term.”

The project is set to be completed in Spring 2022.

For more information, donations or adoption visit the Calgary Humane Society website.