What Is An Open Admission Facility?

The Buncombe County Animal Shelter is an open admission, public animal shelter serving lost and unwanted animals and the citizens of Buncombe County.

That means no Buncombe County animal is ever turned away from the shelter regardless of health, age, breed or temperament. More than 60% of the animals entering the shelter are lost and the remaining 40% is comprised of owner surrendered pets or animals seized by Animal Service Officers in cruelty/neglect and code enforcement cases.

Being an open admission public animal shelter means the buck stops here. The Buncombe County Animal Shelter can never stop taking in animals, never take a breather on intake for a week, and never limit new animals when there is a staff shortage. If animals cannot be transferred out at a rapid pace, if one of the placement partners should falter, if Asheville Humane Society's Adoption Center and foster homes should become filled to capacity, the shelter will have to euthanize. To keep this flow going, to forever eliminate euthanasia of healthy animals in Buncombe County and to treat every savable compromised animal, significant resources are needed. This is why the public-private partnership with Asheville Humane Society is so critical. By partnering with a credible, progressive nonprofit for sheltering operations, Buncombe County is able to benefit from Asheville Humane Society’s enthusiastic adopters, strong partner agencies, army of compassionate volunteers, dedicated foster homes and the generosity of donors and supporters. Asheville Humane Society is the only animal welfare agency dedicated completely to Buncombe County animals and does not solicit or take in animals outside the Buncombe County home area for the benefit of the Adoption and Education Center, or financial gain.

Buncombe County contracts with Asheville Humane Society to operate the day to day functions of the animal sheltering program in the Buncombe County Animal Shelter facility. That means staff working in the Buncombe County Animal Shelter are actually Asheville Humane Society employees who receive special training in best practices for animal sheltering.

The Buncombe County Animal Shelter and Asheville Humane Society Adoption Center staff work cooperatively and respect all animal welfare groups, regardless of philosophy, and strives to create partnerships in order to save more lives. The shelter management team and staff foster an environment of professionalism that encourages varying viewpoints and approaches to solving animal homelessness.