The new Sedalia Animal Shelter at 2420 South New York was a very popular place on Friday afternoon during a two-hour open house of the facility.

Area residents were able to take tours of the shelter and see the cats and dogs that are currently available for adoption, as well as meet staff and talk with shelter director Andrea Martin.

"We had a huge turnout, we're super excited about it, everybody's just really impressed, as we are. It's awesome for us, awesome for the community, and especially for the animals," Martin said.

The new shelter became operational Nov. 4, and the transition from the old shelter at 2900 West Main to the present 7,423-square-foot facility was smooth. The initial opening date was pushed back by three months, but it was obviously worth the wait.

A transfer ceremony was held July 5 to symbolically transfer ownership of the shelter from the Heckart Family Foundation to the City of Sedalia.

"Obviously, we've known that this was going to take place for quite some time, and we prepared for it really well, but the transition, I felt like, went great," she said.

"We have 47 dog cages, compared to 30 at the old shelter. And we have 97 cat cages; we had 32 at the old shelter. So there's absolutely no comparison," she noted.

"We have three separate rooms that allow us to have adoptables holding in quarantine, which is all on separate air supplies, so that keeps everybody nice & healthy," she said, " so that's great."

Martin has been on the job here in Sedalia since July 2015.

Sue Heckart, whose photos adorn the west wall of the main lobby, was pleased with the results at the new shelter, which was a two-year project.

"Dogs are near and dear to my heart, and of course the cats. I'm just happy that I could provide a temporary home for them," Heckart said. She has owned show dogs for 10-15 years, she noted.

The Heckart Family Foundation funded the project for the most part, along with a sizeable $50,000 donation from local businesswoman Barbara Hayden and several smaller contributions.

Susan Young Yelton was among those who toured the new shelter and was very impressed with the facility.

"It's very impressive, and Sedalia is very fortunate to have this type of facility," she commented, adding that if she could take all the animals home with her, she would. "But they're in a better place here." Yelton's family adopted a yellow male lab five years ago named "Buddy." But Yelton said she likes to think that her family was the one who was adopted by Buddy. "I think he ended up rescuing us."

For more information, call the shelter at 826-5816 or visit their Facebook page. The shelter is open 11-5 Monday through Saturday.