‘Paws’ for celebration as Cedar City’s new animal shelter officially opens

CEDAR CITY –– Officials cut the ribbon on Cedar City’s new animal adoption shelter Saturday morning, calling it a much-needed facility that will serve the community for decades to come.

Cedar City Animal Adoption Center grand opening, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Mike Miller, who chaired the committee tasked with raising donations on behalf of the new shelter, commented about the bond that humans share with their pet animals.

“I think Dr. (Kelly) Esplin said it best, and I quote, ‘An animal becomes part of your life. There’s a special relationship forged. And I think that’s what moves all of us to be part of this effort.’”

Miller said the “much overdue” facility would serve the community for many years to come and encouraged community members to continue their ongoing support.

“Your support, your donations, your service, does not need to end today.” Miller said. “Please consider rendering what you can today and any day in the future.”

Store officials from the local Walmart were also on hand Saturday to present a ceremonial $5,000 check toward the shelter, located at 1305 W. Kitty Hawk Drive, just a couple blocks east of the old shelter. Other donors, large and small, are listed on signs inside the new building’s lobby. Even the kennels, the flagpoles and most of the newly planted trees also bear the names of generous contributors who helped fund those amenities.

Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards also thanked all those who’d worked to make the project a reality.

“If any of you have been to our old facility, you knew that a 60-year old coal storage building that was half-renovated to try to make an animal shelter was long overdue for an upgrade,” Wilson-Edwards said during her remarks.

The mayor also noted the drainage and ventilation systems in the new building, along with other design features, will provide a safer environment for animals and caregivers alike.

Officials cut ribbon during Cedar City Animal Adoption Center’s grand opening, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The animals will be well taken care of,” she said. “It’s what a community of our stature deserves.”

Approximately 200 people attended the hourlong grand opening ceremony, which was followed by public tours of the new facility.

Other speakers at the event included Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams and architect Garrett Sullivan, both of whom thanked numerous people involved with the project.

Local grade-school student Ty Burton, son of Brandon and Kelsea Burton, was honored for his winning logo design, which has been used in the facility’s signage. After raising a flag with his design on it during the opening flag ceremony, Burton then led the audience in the pledge of allegiance.

No animals were actually inside the building during Saturday’s dedication event; the cats and dogs were all moved in on Monday, when things were calmer and quieter. 

Shelter manager Tina Garrison, who called the new facility “an amazing dream come true,” said the currently sheltered animals are already adjusting to the new building and will hopefully find permanent adoptive homes within the community soon.

Garrison expressed special thanks to shelter staff members Easten Leavitt and McKenna Leyk, volunteers Julianne Burgess and Sarah Green, Cedar City Animal Control officers Stenson Bergstrom and Zac Banz, along with the members of the fundraising committee and various donors and supporters.

One upcoming fundraising event was announced by resident Carter Wilkey, who is organizing the inaugural “Cedar City Furry Friend Fun Run” starting at 8 a.m. Sept. 14 at Bicentennial Park and going to Canyon Park and back for a total distance of 5K. Registration is $15 for one person or $25 per family. Payment can be made at the event, starting at 7 a.m., or by donating online. Participants are invited to run with their leashed animals, with all proceeds going to support the new shelter. For more information, visit the event’s webpage.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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