OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — The dream for a brand new animal shelter in Ozark is one step closer.

This comes after the current animal shelter received Federal 501(c) status, which exempts it from most federal taxes.

Dale County, along with its municipalities, will take its stray and abandoned dogs and cats to the Ozark Animal Shelter.

Ozark Animal Shelter falls under the umbrella of that city’s police department. Ozark Police Chief, Marlos Walker, says a 501(c) tax exempt status has been established for contributions to go toward the construction of a new shelter. It provides tax advantages for those who make donations.

Chief Walker says the current building served the city well, but a new facility will be a necessity in just a few years.

“This 501 will try and use proceeds from that and if we need to use some operational expenses from that as well,” said Chief Walker. “We have a lot of people down there that are interested in helping us build this new shelter. That’s our goal to get to a point where we can see that happen.”

And Chief Walker says with many pet owners not spaying and neutering their animal, it’s creating an over population of dogs and cats not only in the municipalities, but the unincorporated areas as well.

“The dream and the goal is to have a brand new shelter, a nice facility,” said Chief Walker. “That facility has done us a good job over the years but has been there a long time.”

The issue of stray and abandoned animals is not exclusive to Ozark and Dale County, it’s a major issue being faced by most cities and counties’ statewide.

Chief Walker says he hopes a new facility will serve his city in years to come.