ESCANABA — The John and Melissa Besse Pet Adoption Center in Escanaba held its ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.

The Delta Animal Shelter will operate the center.

The pets are settled in and boxes have been unpacked in the facility that was built with a six hundred thousand dollar grant from the John and Melissa Besse Foundation.

“Without that significant donation we would not be here today,” said shelter manager Susan Gartland. “This dream would have been many, many, many years down the road.”

Don St. Germaine, chair of the shelter’s board of trustees, said, “Our dream has become a reality and we’re very excited about it. The animals of Delta County will receive the best treatment in the state.”

“When they started talking about putting up the new shelter my parents had passed on by then, but we thought that would be something that if my parents were still alive they really would have liked to see happen,” said Greg Besse, president of the John and Melissa Besse Foundation and the Besse’s son.

While a large donation of money made the facility’s construction possible, the shelter’s day-to-day operations wouldn’t be possible without its dedicated team of volunteers.

“We can’t say enough about our volunteers,” St. Germaine said. “We have a wonderful group that perform day in and day out, taking care of animals. We couldn’t exist without the volunteers.”

“There are a lot of volunteers here that put in a lot of hard work that makes it all happen so, really, in the end it’s the people that make the difference here,” Besse said.

The adoption center will open to the public at noon this coming Tuesday and will host an open house on February 7th.