DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) - The City of Dearborn is celebrating a new, more animal friendly shelter where four-legged friends now await their forever homes.
The MaryAnn Wright Animal Adoption and Education Center (AAEC) was unveiled Tuesday, where the cats and dogs of Dearborn are now waiting for their "furever" homes in a new state-of-the-art shelter located behind the Dearborn Police Department.
MaryAnn Wright is an animal welfare advocate who spearheaded the fundraising effort and also donated a million dollars to build the new 10,000 square foot facility on land donated by the City of Dearborn.
"It's for the animals that I love and it's for the team that cares for them everyday. They do such important work and they are so inspiring that I felt it was really important for me to do what I had to do to get them a new home," she said.
The Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit spent 15 years raising more than $5 million to build the adoption center. Now it's time for the big move, after being in the same old building the Dearborn Animal Shelter on Greenfield road for 30 years.
"It was stressful and it smelled and it was loud. Now they're in a stress-free environment, wonderful air exchange, plumbing works. Yay. Double-compartment cages so they can have space to stretch out. It's just a dream come true," said Elaine Green, executive director.
"Now people will feel comfortable from the minute they come in. They'll be engaged, focused entirely on what's the best match, what's going to fit our family," said Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly.
Now they're moving on to phase two -- the rest of the building. They'll need more money for the $3.5 million section - an additional 6,000 square feet - for animal intake and evaluation, medical facilities and administrative offices. Right now strays should still be brought to the old Dearborn animal shelter.
"We need $3.5 million. We've raised $350,000, so we're going to be working hard to get this done and get the team under one roof," Wright said.
In the meantime, these animals need homes.
"Our animals come in alone and they leave with their new forever home and their new forever family," Wright said.
This week it's just $25 to adopt a puppy, kitten, cat or dog, and there's a family day on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Everyone's invited.