The Humane Society of Utah held its sixth annual Humane Awards Banquet Saturday evening at the Salt Lake Airport Hilton, recognizing both animals and people for their contributions to the cause of animal welfare during the past year.

Construction plans for a new Humane Society facility were also unveiled. Director Gene Baierschmidt said the building will be located at 4250 S. 300 West and will triple the amount of space the society presently occupies. He said construction will begin in mid-September and should be finished in July of 1992.The top honor, Humanitarian of the Year, was awarded to Utah House Minority Leader, Rep. Frank R. Pignanelli, for his work in getting stronger animal protection laws passed in the last session of the Legislature.

Kathy Cetron, the guiding force behind the Utah Coalition for Animals, was named 1991 Volunteer of the Year. Humane Society Employees of the Year were Pauline Edwards, the director of community affairs, and Beth Ramthun, education director.

Awards were given to the Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs and their handlers in appreciation for their skill, teamwork, bravery and dedication in a rescue effort involving an 11-year-old girl and her puppy, who were lost in the San Rafael canyon area this past February.

Recipients were: Becky Carlile and her Dalmatian, Halley; Rhonda Devereaux and her Bernese Mountain dog, Diva; Margaret Gregory and her Bouvier des Flandres, Ashley; Nancy Hachmeister and her German shepherd, Kallie; Julene Inskeep and her German shepherd, Keena; Ken Lafazan and his malamute, Corbu; Erica Riddle and her black Labrador, Bart; and Tom Shirley and his Dalmatian, Patti.

David Bly, a Canadian journalist whose special feature, "The Mind's Eye," appears in Sunday editions of the Deseret News, received an award for his photography and personal insights, which he has used to urge respect and kindness for all living things.

Jerry Andersch of KTVX-TV received an award for "Dying Shame," a series on pet overpopulation that he produced.