BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The sky was a little gray over Branford this morning, but the smiles were bright on the staff, volunteers, and community members at the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter as they broke ground on their new facility.

Branford’s first selectman, Jamie Cosgrove, spoke about his grandfather, Dan Cosgrove, remembering his commitment and love for all animals.

“Any dog that was caught roaming or somebody could not keep for whatever reason, my grandfather gave that dog a second chance.”

And that is what this new, expanded shelter will do, give all animals a chance to find new, loving families.

“Were going to have a community education and training room, were going to have dog and cat visiting rooms, were going to have an expanded critter room, were going to have trails for the dogs, a barn to keep our different livestock that comes in from the ducks, and chicks, to sheep. There are so many things were adding and upgrading, so we’re extremely excited,” said Laura Burban.

With the pandemic, it has been difficult for volunteers to do their normal in-person fundraisers, but through social media, the community stepped up to help this small shelter staff with a big dream.

“It was amazing, the amount of businesses that stepped up.  It was amazing to us the amount of people that still came forward and said they may not be able to give this year but want to give next year.”

And thanks to the generous donors, the hope is this new facility will be a place of comfort and education.

“We really want to make this a place where both people and animals feel comfortable. It’s about education, which is key from our perspective. We believe we have to educate both people and animals on how to care for each other properly, training methods. There are so many things you can work simultaneously, and this facility will allow us to do that,” Burban said.

The new shelter should be completed by next fall. In the meantime, they have a temporary location on Cherry Hill Road where you can donate toward the new facility or adopt a new family member.