CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Saturday’s ribbon cutting marks the end of an expansion years in the making for the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter.

The community celebrated newly-enclosed outdoor kennels with full heating and cooling.

“It’s so much more comfortable,” Animal Shelter Director Shannon Posada said. “It’s so much more like a home environment to them and that’s what we want them to have while they’re here. We want them to know that they’re loved and that they’re cared for.”

Project Manager Chris Prince said the expansion comes at a vital time.

“We got additional outdoor space there to where we can house more animals,” Prince said. “We do have a crisis at the time because everything is full. All of the shelters are full.”

Prince said protecting the animals from weather has been a longtime concern.

“During the winter in the really, really cold months they were having to bring crates in,” Prince said. “Stacking them two and three high to be able to get the animals from the outside in.”

The momentum isn’t stopping here, a new spay and neuter clinic beside the shelter is in the works as well.

“Much, much needed for our community,” Posada said. “We’re tickled to death that the Friends of the shelter stepped up and they’re going forward. There’s no stopping this group, and we could never thank them enough.”

The next fundraiser for the shelter is their 1st Annual Golf Tournament at Elizabethton Golf Course Aug. 20.