FAIRMONT — A groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction on the new Marion County Humane Society was held Tuesday morning.
Community leaders and Humane Society workers gathered under a pop-up tent with shovels in hand as the rain poured down.
Despite the weather, everyone expressed enthusiasm for the project.
Donna Long, Chair of the Board of the Marion County Humane Society, welcomed everyone and Minister DD Meighen gave a blessing.
“We thank you for this sacred land, which has faithfully served our animals for the past 44 years,” Meighen said. “…For the animals that were homeless, abused, orphaned, neglected and some that were abandoned for good reason, we give thanks that this is a place where love and compassion have been shown and will be shown .”
County Commissioner Randy Elliott said he wouldn’t have missed the ceremony for rain, snow or any other weather condition.
“This is one of the most needed and important things we’ve done here in Marion County in a long, long time. It was really needed,” Elliott said. “…On behalf of the Marion County Commissioners, we would like to congratulate you on the grand opening of a magnificent new building. It’s the beginning of a new era for the Marion County Humane Society.
Elliott, Mayor Tom Mainella and City Council Member Anne Bolyard added personal anecdotes about how the humane society has helped them with their animals in the past.
Mainella shared how smoothly the process of adopting her “beloved” pet went three years ago. Bolyard shared that one of the first cats she adopted was from the Marion County Humane Society.
“I am an animal lover and have supported them for the 18 years I have been commissioner,” Elliott said. “I am excited about the future of Human Society, the success they have had in the past and the continued success they will have in the future.”
The new Human Society, which is located in the same location as its predecessor at 2731 Locust Ave., will cost $1.5 million, is four times the size of the old building and is expected to be completed in March 2023.
The old building, which was built in 1978, was demolished last week by Cook Brothers Building and Excavation. Marion County Humane Society director Jonna Spatafore said Tuesday’s ceremony was even more emotional than seeing the building come crashing down.
“I’ve wanted to cry since I woke up this morning,” Spatafore said. “I don’t know what it’s about, but it’s very emotional and super exciting.”
Spatafore said the company’s temporary space at 864 Husky Highway is nice because they didn’t have to close their facilities, but the space is much smaller. For this reason, they cannot accommodate as many animals as they would like. They can’t wait to welcome the animals to the new facility and a little rain won’t stop them.
“When I got up (Tuesday) morning and it was raining, we all put on our rain gear and walked the dogs that needed to go out,” Spatafore said. “So if we’re going to do this every day in and out of snow and rain and whatever else, then why would the rain stop this? It’s very important, but it’s the animals that matter.
The Humane Society will host fundraising events throughout 2022. On August 20, the Society will host a “We Ride for Tail” poker race at the Copperhouse Grill and hold bingo events on September 11 and December 4. Spatafore said the company would also arrange to participate in hometown markets and other events around the county. On June 25, representatives will attend the Fireman’s Festival in Mannington.
“If you want us to come, ask us. We will show up anywhere and beg people for money,” Spatafore said with a laugh.
The Marion County Humane Society can be reached at 304-366-5391 or on Facebook or their website.