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On hand for the groundbreaking of a new animal shelter on East Lane are, from left, front row, Gary Ross, Ellen Rosenfeldt, Dr. Mark Hendrixson, Jan Hendrixson and Holly Smith; and back row, Debra Ryan, Bryan Hudgins, Marita Rumph, Tom Griffith, Laura Hudgins and Danielle Hurt.

Focus on the Cumberland County Animal Shelter (FOCCAS) broke ground Jan. 25 on the long-awaited new intake and holding facility for the Cumberland County Animal Shelter. The nonprofit organization has raised more than $300,000 in donations and pledges to construct the building, with fundraising ongoing as the group works to fund the equipment and fixtures needed to outfit the new facility. 

FOCCAS began in 2015 with a goal of increasing public awareness, volunteerism and contributions for the animal shelter and helping to educate the public regarding the conditions at the nearly 50-year-old shelter facility on East Lane Rd. The Cumberland County Commission appropriated funding in the 2016-’17 budget year for construction of a new adoption facility. Though the new facility represented a “huge step forward,” the press release states, FOCCAS noted the adoption facility would not replace the current shelter facility and would require many dogs to continue being houses in outdoor kennels.

In August 2016, a generous benefactor offered FOCCAS $100,000 for construction of a new animal shelter.

“FOCCAS recognized this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity and launched a capital campaign to raise the remaining money needed to fund the construction of a new sheltering facility,” the press release states.

The organization has held multiple fundraisers, including two direct mail campaigns that resulted in donations from across Cumberland County as well as surrounding areas. 

“With the average donation being $100 or less, thousands of concerned citizens have donated to this project,” the press release states.

Many local businesses have offered in-kind donations, as well. A substantial portion of the project funds have been deposited into an escrow account.

The fundraising work is not complete. About $35,000 is still needed to complete the interior of the facility with cat housing, kennel fencing, cabinets and counters and other equipment and fixtures. 

The FOCCAS Wall of Gratitude offers an opportunity to honor pets past and present and support the project. Tiles may be purchased for $25 to $85 and adorned with photos or messages. These tiles will be used in the new facility.

Sponsorships are also available for cat condos or dog kennels, at a cost of $1,000. The name of the sponsor will be proudly displayed by the kennel or condo.

FOCCAS will host Pancakes for Paws Feb. 17 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Cumberland County Community Complex, Livingston Rd. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door for all-you-can eat pancakes. 

For more information on FOCCAS or upcoming events, visit www.foccas-tn.org.

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