Having a no-kill animal shelter fills an important community need.

But it doesn’t come without effort or cost.

The Central Dakota Humane Society has outgrown its shelter north of Mandan. The nonprofit has purchased eight acres at the Missouri Valley Fairgrounds in Bismarck as a future home.

The estimated cost of a new shelter runs $6.3 million.

A lot of dogs and cats churn through the animal shelter. The existing shelter has room for 45 dogs and 70 cats. The proposed 13,375-square-foot facility would have room for 80 dogs and 100 cats.

Last year, the society adopted out 250 animals. The people there do good work.

All this has been in the news because the humane society is in the process of conducting an online survey of public thinking about an animal shelter. Based on that information, the society expects to begin a fund drive for the construction of a new shelter. To take part in the survey, go to www.cdhs.net.

Participating in the survey should be seen as important. It will give organizers the tools to develop the right kind of animal shelter for our community. It will help make the most of money people commit to constructing a new center.

Events over the last several years — acts of animal abuse and cruelty, as well as scores of abandoned dogs and cats — speak to the need for organizations like the Central Dakota Humane Society and for a shelter capable of handling critters at risk.

The shelter north of Mandan served the area well. But the surrounding area has grown beyond the capabilities of that shelter. And it’s an older structure, with limited space for expansion and in need of repair. Moving to a more accessible site off Expressway in southeast Bismarck will put the shelter in a better position for the people and animals who need its services.

Raising the money for a new shelter will not be easy. It has a hefty price tag. Organizers will get a better feel for community attitudes and willingness to financially support a new shelter once the online survey has been completed. It’s all work that needs to be done.

Take the survey. Share your views.