SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Following a two-year construction project, Shelby County’s new animal shelter is getting ready to welcome cats and dogs.

The new Shelby County Animal Shelter is roughly triple the size of the old shelter, allowing for more animals, bigger kennels for dogs and more playtime space for cats, according to County Commissioner Julie Ehemann.

“The old animal shelter was built back when you held dogs for three days and then you put them down,” Ehemann said. “And we do not do that anymore. We have had animals in our shelter for up to a year.”

The old shelter is aging and does not provide enough space for the animals, Ehemann said.

The new building can accommodate 20 cats and more than 30 dogs, she said. The facility also provides better lighting and ventilation than the old shelter, she added.

“We’ve even got a community outreach center where we’ll be able to do obedience classes and immunizations and other educational programs,” Ehemann said.

Ehemann serves as vice president on the board for the Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation (SCARF), which raised $2.4 million dollars for the project. The county will contribute another $800,000, she added.

The entire project costs slightly more than $3 million, she added.

“We can separate diseased animals,” said Sheriff John Lenhart. “We can separate animals that may have behavioral problems.”

Sheriff Lenhart told 2 NEWS the much larger facility will allow officials to take in animals more quickly and take better care of them while helping them find forever homes.

“The deputies do a fantastic job in what I call foreign adoptions, going outside the area and if it’s a specific breed of dog, they’ve networked, and so they can find a home for those animals,” he said.

It’s not yet clear what will happen to the old animal shelter, Ehemann said.

The animals will be moved to the new shelter within the next week or two, Sheriff Lenhart said.

The new shelter is expected to be fully operational in about two weeks, he added.