“Closing our doors has really allowed us the opportunity to see that we are needed in this community,” SVAS Executive Director Shelbi Waters said.

The Souris Valley Animal Shelter will be closing its doors July 20, not because there isn’t a need — but because there is.

“The reason we decided to break ground this summer and this early is because we do have rotting window frames, black mold, a severe worm infestation in our walls and we had to think is this safe for our employees and our staff and our volunteers and most importantly are providing a safe environment for animals and the answer was no we’re absolutely not,” Waters said.

The project will involve expansion on the current building along with the construction of a new one. It is set to cost about 3.2 million dollars, and the owner of Hight Construction of Minot, the company who is the general contractor on the project says they are eager to provide this improvement to the community.

“A lot of projects like this don’t come around often in Minot — and when they do — it’s in our wheel-house and it’s a large commercial project and that’s what we do and we’re happy to be a part of it,” President and Owner of Hight Construction Jay Hight said.

The shelter is also putting a halt on new intakes of animals during this time, but Waters says they are working closely with other area shelters who can provide that temporary home for those pets along with using their foster program.

“We’ll work with every individual who needs help and continue and maintain our return-to-owner list our county contracts etcetera to make sure that again the community has something they can utilize during the 9 months of construction,” Waters said.

Waters also says the new building will provide care for the animals that the shelter has never had.

“We’ll be able to provide animal enrichment at a level that we’ve never been able to before through our indoor dog park and just through indoor outdoor dog kennels — animal enrichment for cats which is a forgotten piece in most shelters,” Waters said.

But most importantly, she said the staff is just excited to give their four-legged friends a new and safe home.