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The Michigan Humane Society kicked off its effort to raise money for a new $15.5 million animal shelter in the city with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday.

Humane Society President Matthew Pepper, agency employees, state and local representatives and even shelter dogs participated in the event along the Chrysler Service Drive near Clay Street.

The 34,000-square-foot Detroit Animal Care Campus will offer improved, "highly progressive" animal housing, an expanded veterinary center, a new home for the MHS Cruelty Investigation and Rescue Department, dedicated canine and feline rehabilitation areas, secure dog play yards and a community dog park, the group said in a news release.

The Humane Society plans to finish construction by early 2016.

The current facility is on the corner of the Chrysler Service Drive and Custer.

The agency moved into the facility, a former piston ring factory, in the late 1920s.

Officials say MHS cares for about 15,000 animals a year at the site.

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