The family of one of the students killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is asking people to donate money to build a new animal sanctuary in her name.

Jenny and Matt Hubbard, parents of animal-loving first-grader Catherine Violet Hubbard, announced their plans on Jan. 23. The new shelter will be associated with the Newtown-based Animal Center, which had already been receiving donations in memory of the Sandy Hook victims. The Animal Center is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to animal rescue and welfare. Founded in 2004, the center does not currently have a shelter, and the animals in its care are fostered in volunteers' homes until they are adopted.

In a statement to the media, the Hubbards discussed their daughter's love of animals. "We were amazed as she interacted with all creatures, great and small. She would ride her bike full speed to see the new cat at the bus stop. She'd run to the top of the yard to see the dogs being walked down the street. She would stroll through the barn to gently rub the nose of each horse reaching out of its stall."

Harmony Verna, vice president of The Animal Center, called Catherine a "kindred spirit." In a statement, she said "This sanctuary will be a place where neglected, abused or homeless animals can get a second chance at life, a place for children and adults to connect with animals and the natural world. Animals have an amazing capacity to love and heal the human spirit. We hope Catherine will think it is the most beautiful place on Earth."

Plants for the sanctuary are still developing, so it is not yet known how big it will be or how many animals it could house. They hope to have it open within five years.

The Animal Center has received so many positive notes about the planned sanctuary that officials there have launched a dedicated Facebook page for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which as of this writing already has more than 1,100 likes.

Donations may be made through The Animal Center's website or by mail to The Animal Center, Attn: Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, PO Box 475, Newtown, CT  06470.

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