About Us

We rescue, reunite, rehabilitate and re-home more than 6,111 homeless animals each year in our community. Watch the following video to learn more about our lifesaving efforts.  

Mission of Asheville Humane Society

Asheville Humane Society is dedicated to promoting the compassionate treatment of animals in our community through education, sheltering and adoption.


Asheville Humane Society was formed in 1984 as Buncombe County Friends for Animals Inc., primarily as a governing body for the County Pet Adoption Center and Animal Shelter, which was previously operated by the County. Asheville Humane Society has operated the Shelter since September 1990. In September 2010, Asheville Humane Society, in partnership with Buncombe County, opened the Animal Care Campus. The campus comprises two facilities: Asheville Humane Society Adoption and Education Center and the Buncombe County Animal Shelter. The two facilities sit side by side and work in tandem in a public-private partnership that serves as a national model for other communities hoping to work collaboratively on eradicating animal homelessness. 

 Asheville Humane Society
Adoption and Education Center

Buncombe County Animal Shelter

Who is Asheville Humane Society?

Asheville Humane Society is the oldest, and was for many years the only, organization devoted to animal welfare in Buncombe County. 

Over 25 years ago in 1984, a group of brave and dedicated private citizens uncovered inhumane practices in the public pound and persuaded the County to give their private organization (then Buncombe County Friends for Animals) the responsibility for animal related operations. The public shelter was in an old maintenance garage where over 14,000 animals were dropped off annually. Under volunteer non-profit leadership the gas chamber was abolished, the first animal care professionals were recruited and for many years Asheville Humane Society was the sole combatant against animal cruelty in this part of the state.   Much of the money to do this was raised privately to augment the County contribution to sheltering. Then and now, all funds related to the rehabilitation of animals, the sheltering of animals awaiting adoption, the fostering of recovering animals, the recruitment of volunteers and the rehoming of animals is privately raised by Asheville Humane Society. This includes every cent of the building and operation costs of the beautiful Nancy Hiscoe Clark Adoption and Education Center next door to the new state-of-the-art Buncombe County Animal Shelter. Together the two buildings represent a public/private partnership that is drawing national attention in animal welfare circles.

Asheville Humane Society is the only open admission shelter in the County, the only one that can never, and will never, close its doors or say we're full. 

We are here for animals who have no other options, no other place to go, animals who are adoptable and not adoptable, animals who are injured, lost, sick, starving, victims of extreme cruelty and animals who just want the opportunity to love someone again. We provide a soft bed, food, comfort and medical evaluation, minor treatment and vaccinations, and temperament testing for each. In the cases of extreme and terminal suffering we provide an immediate end to pain in comforting arms. All others, those who are surrendered by owners or those who will never be reclaimed, we assess and place in one of three categories depending on their physical and mental condition.  

The first category is Healthy/Adoptable and thanks to the great partnership of sheltering and adoption agencies in the Buncombe County Animal Coalition (Asheville Humane Society, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Animal Compassion Network, Friends 2 Ferals and the international training institute for low cost/high volume spay/neuter clinic - the Humane Alliance of WNC) the placement rate is currently at 100% for these healthy animals.  Each day the Asheville Humane Society animal care professionals from the Adoption and Education Center next door and representatives of the other coalition partners take these animals from the shelter and put them on their path to new homes.

The next category is Unhealthy: Treatable/Rehabilitatable and  each of the partners "pulls" from this pool as many animals as its resources of time, money and volunteer homes will permit.  Each of the animals will need medical care or behavioral rehabilitation in a foster home to be whole and adoptable again.  Many litters of kittens and puppies, too young to survive without their mother, fall in this category as well. The goal of Asheville Humane Society and the Buncombe County Animal Coalition is to someday have the resources to treat and rehabilitate every savable sick, injured and traumatized animal that comes into the shelter. In the meantime, when no one can take them, when every foster home is full, when there are no resources left, it is the trained and certified Asheville Humane Society shelter staff who will have the heartbreaking task of ending the suffering of the animals who could, in an ideal world, be treated and saved.

And Asheville Humane Society is both the first responders and the last hope for the third category of Unhealthy/Untreatable animals.