Ground broken on Catherine Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown

Catherine Hubbard Animal Sanctuary groundbreaking
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 9:07 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2022 at 11:24 AM EST
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NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) - Ground was broken on an animal sanctuary dedicated to a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

To mark 10 years since the tragedy, officials and dignitaries honored the legacy of 6-year-old Catherine Hubbard with the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

The ceremony happened at 10:00 a.m. in Newtown:

Ground was broken on an animal sanctuary dedicated to a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Wednesday’s event kicked off proceedings to build permeant facilities for the sanctuary.

For the past decade, organizers said the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary has carried on the legacy of Catherine who showed a strong sense of compassion and kindness to animals. The sanctuary has served over 707,000 pet food meals to animals in need, taught 143,000 people through sanctuary educational programs, and engaged more than 1,000 volunteers annually.

Catherine Hubbard, 6, was one of the 26 students and staff who died in the Sandy Hook...
Catherine Hubbard, 6, was one of the 26 students and staff who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.(Contributed)

The new $10 million completely self-sustaining facilities will be the first-ever “Living Building” in Connecticut and the New York metro area. The design includes homage to Catherine, with a central spire topped with red terracotta tiles to signify her red hair and two walkways connecting the buildings to signify her outstretched arms, welcoming all to the sanctuary.

For Catherine’s Hubbard mother, she can’t change what happened on this day, but it’s a chance to re-write the meaning, while offering hope for a better future.

It’s a space to connect with nature.

“I love the quietness of the sanctuary when I just need to reflect and contemplate. I love the energy when we have kids running around,” said Jenny Hubbard.

For Jenny Hubbard it’s the perfect spot to make sure her daughter’s legacy lives on forever.

“Giddy, giddy, I have often thought at our events and programs, that if Catherine were still gracing this earth, she most certainly would be the first to be here and the last to leave. It’s a place that really is her spirit and her love, delighting in everything that we do,” Jenny said.

Marking a heavy day, but one filled with hope.

“It’s sacred in a sense it’s the day when Catherine left this earth, but it’s also a powerful day in that we mark the beginning of extraordinary kindness and compassion,” said Jenny.

The sanctuary, which has already provided more than 700,000 meals to animals in need and educational programs, will feature a veterinary clinic, a library, and community gardens, among other features.

Focusing on the spirit of a little girl who not only loved animals, but one day hoped to work with them.

“She was fiercely determined, abundantly compassionate, she loved animals, they’d stop her in her track, she’d oh and ah, she was 6. What 6-year-old doesn’t love a puppy walking by them or a dog coming up to them,” Jenny said.

The permanent facility will not only include hidden gems, like Catherine’s signature and artwork, weaved into wallpaper or a tile mosaic, but the central spire will be topped with red terracotta tiles as a tribute to Catherine’s red hair.

“When the design was first shared with us, it was a gentle nod to Catherine. Catherine was fiercely shy as much as she was determined, so the quite nod to her and her love, it took my breath away. I cried because it was just the perfect representation of her,” said Jenny.

Officials called it an opportunity to rewrite the meaning of the day and offer hope for a better future.

More information on the sanctuary can be found on its website here.

For more on how to remember and honor the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, head to the website