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Asheville Humane Society Announces Record Breaking Success

Asheville Humane Society Announces Record Breaking Success

Asheville Humane Society Leads the Fight for a No-Kill Buncombe County Announces Record-Breaking Success Saving the Lives of 5,599 Local Animals Last Fiscal Year

Asheville Humane Society (AHS) today announced that the organization broke all previous records for saving the greatest number of Buncombe County animals – 5,599 — at the close of its fiscal year in June.

AHS’ outstanding success represents an increase of 21% of lives saved over its last fiscal year and an increase of 110% of lives saved since the organization moved into their new Adoption Center four years ago. AHS operates its own privately funded Adoption and Education Center and since 1990 has managed the Buncombe County open-admission Animal Shelter contract. Thanks to AHS, 5,599 local animals were given another chance at life and happiness this year.

The key to this achievement is the broad programming Asheville Humane Society offers to Buncombe County citizens and their animals. Over 3,000 animals were adopted into responsible, loving homes, nearly another 900 cats and dogs were transported to other agencies throughout the country, and almost 1,000 animals were reunited with their worried families through AHS’s Lost and Found Program, which has one of the highest return rates in the nation. Another 500 animals and their families received assistance, including free pet food and medical aid, from AHS to keep pets with their caring families and out of the shelter.
These accomplishments are especially extraordinary, since Asheville Humane Society accepts all local animals in need. “As the only open-admission shelter in the county, we welcome every local animal into our facility, regardless of space and available resources, or the animal’s appearance, health, breed, age or temperament,” said Jennifer Brehler, Interim President of Asheville Humane Society. “Of course this makes our work that much more difficult, however, when others say no to an animal in need, someone has to be there to help them. We are proud to be that somebody.”

Over 87 percent of the animals saved out of the Buncombe County Animal Shelter in the last fiscal year were saved by Asheville Humane Society’s Adoption, Foster and Relocation Programs alone. AHS saved more than eight times the number of animals from the Buncombe County open-admission Animal Shelter than any other animal rescue organization.

David Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors, offers insight into AHS’s community focus. “We believe we first need to achieve a no-kill community in our own backyard. Only when that has been realized will we truly be able to help other communities with their pet overpopulation.” And this community has taken up the call, through a tremendous show of volunteer force and support. Nearly 1,800 animals were fostered by over 480 families, and 895 volunteers donated over 80,000 hours of their time to AHS this past year helping to save these 5,593 animals.

Brehler continues, “We have been working tirelessly to save and improve the lives of animals in Buncombe County. Last year, we merged with Animal Compassion Network and increased our lifesaving capabilities. With this year’s success and strong community support, we are truly making outstanding progress in moving Buncombe County toward a no-kill community.”

About Asheville Humane Society

For over 30 years Asheville Humane Society has been saving homeless Buncombe County animals. Today we operate both our own state-of-the-art Adoption and Education Center and the County’s only open door shelter where no local animal is ever turned away. We rescue, reunite, rehabilitate and re-home abandoned, abused, injured and lost animals. We provide education, training and support to keep pets in their homes. Asheville Humane Society has earned the highest rating of Four Stars from Charity Navigator, a designation achieved by only 25% of all charities nationwide. Our nationally recognized innovative programs and partnerships are steadily moving Buncombe County toward a no-kill community.


How Did Asheville Humane Society Save the Lives of 5,599 Local Animals This Past Fiscal Year?
In the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2014:

  • 5,599 Buncombe County animals’ lives saved, a 21% increase of lives saved over the last fiscal year and an increase of 110% since opening our Adoption Center four years ago
  • Over 3,000 animals adopted out
  • Over 87 percent of the animals saved out of the Buncombe County Animal Shelter were saved by AHS alone, more than 8 times the number from the Shelter than any other animal rescue organization
  • Over 900 lives saved via Relocation Program
  • Almost 1,000 lost animals reunited with their families
  • Nearly 500 animals remained in homes rather than being surrendered
  • Nearly 1,800 animals fostered by over 480 families
  • Over 80,000 hours donated by 895 volunteers
  • 20,000 pounds of pet food provided to citizens and pets in need
  • 100% success rate in placing adoptable animals

Programs that Make This Happen


All animals in our Adoption Center come from the Buncombe County Animal Shelter located next door. Each day we transfer in as many as possible to re-home. If animals require special medical care, we fund their treatment through our medical Lily Grace Fund. We offer extremely reasonable adoption fees (sometimes even fee-waived) with a comprehensive package of adoption benefits, including spay/neuter, microchip, all necessary vaccinations, medical and behavioral screenings, free starter food, and a complimentary vet check by participating vets in Buncombe County. In addition to puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats, we have rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, and ferrets available for adoption. We also manage the adoption of farm animals and horses. Asheville Humane Society holds adoption events throughout Buncombe County and offers educational programs through Buncombe County schools.

Transfer and Transport

Asheville Humane Society maintains relationships with other animal rescue organizations, both locally and nationally, and never charges a “pull fee.” We make aggressive efforts to transfer animals to other organizations, including breed rescues, humane societies, and shelters who may have the capacity to accept animals for adoption. We operate regular transports to transfer animals to organizations in the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest.


Over 480 foster families act as “satellite shelters” by opening their homes to animals who may be too sick or scared to be immediately adopted. These foster animals are nursed back to health or socialized until they can be put up for adoption. Almost 1,800 animals went through our foster program last fiscal year.


A dedicated corps of 895 volunteers helps the organization in a wide variety of ways: cleaning the Adoption Center, socializing and caring for animals, taking animals on outings, providing grooming services, photographing, supporting adoption and community events, and more. These volunteers donated over 80,000 hours of their time last fiscal year, equivalent to more than 40 full-time staff.

Lost and Found

Nearly 60 percent of the animals coming to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter are lost. Incoming animals are scanned for a microchip and photographed. Photos of lost pets are uploaded to our website so worried families can easily search photos 24 hours a day. We provide comprehensive information and support to citizens who have lost or found animals. Asheville Humane Society has one of the highest Return To Owner rates in the country.

Safety Net

We make every effort to ensure that pets remain in their homes with families who care about them. Our innovative Safety Net program provides counseling and support to pet parents who are faced with surrendering their pets to help keep them together, including access to free pet food and other low-cost and no-cost assistance. There is no fee for a County citizen who wants to surrender a pet and we accept all Buncombe County animals in need. We also offer a free re-homing service should a pet parent have no other choice than to place their animal in another home, allowing them to stay involved in the process.

Pet Health and Pet Behavior

The organization and its volunteers manage monthly low-cost vaccination and microchip clinics. We distribute low-cost spay/neuter vouchers and cooperate closely with Humane Alliance, the nationally known spay/neuter clinic located in Asheville. We offer free pet behavior classes at our Adoption & Education Center through relationships with Pet Behavior Aid and The Dog Door.

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