The Animal Welfare Society, Inc. in New Milford has broken ground for its much-needed expansion.

Work will soon begin on a 1,300-square-foot expansion and renovation project at the 8 Dodd Road facility, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held April 2.

“It’s beautiful….amazing,” said 11-year volunteer Carla Kazanjian of Woodbury when she and other guests saw the plans designed by Architecture Design Alliance in New Milford.

An addition will be constructed in front of the existing building that was built in 1991. It will connect to the current building which will be completely renovated.

The project will allow for a larger reception area, a conference room, healthy hold and cat maternity areas, a new grooming space and an exam room that will eventually have a surgical space.

The existing kitchen and kennels will be renovated.

Janet Bloch, AWS president, said plans for a renovation began in 2008 but were shelved temporarily until a grant three years ago afforded the shelter the opportunity to begin architectural plans.

The shelter learned in the fall that funds from the Cheryl Kupper Trust would provide the organization the necessary means to move forward with the long-awaited project.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” Bloch said to a crowd of shelter volunteers, supporters, town officials and guests at the ceremony.

The expansion “will help our cats and dogs maintain and excel in excellent health and care,” she said.

Bloch acknowledged patience will be needed during the construction process, which is expected to take about seven months.

Gratitude to major donor - and all others who have donated.

“If you’re driving by in July and August, stop by and buy the staff ice cream,” she quipped.

The shelter will remain open during construction.