Reality of Euthanasia

In balancing the welfare of the animals with responsibility to the public, not all animals are suitable for placement. When the difficult decision is made to end an animalís life, compassionate euthanasia by injection is the most humane and dignified method. Unfortunately, until there are no longer any sick, injured, aggressive, or unpredictable animals, euthanasia will still be a reality in Buncombe County. It is this reality that is the responsibility of an open admission shelter. Simply turning a back on these animals and merely pronouncing that euthanasia should not exist will not make euthanasia go away: tirelessly working toward more animal adoptions, furthering pet pregnancy prevention, animal rehabilitation, and providing education and needed resources to the public will reduce the necessity however.

The only way to enact real, lasting change is through community cooperation. This is why Asheville Humane Society and Buncombe County are proud to be members of the Animal Coalition of Buncombe County. The goal of this voluntary group is to save as many lives as possible from the Buncombe County Animal Shelter. The coalition is comprised of direct service providers to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter defined by those animal welfare organizations willing to transfer the greatest number of animals from the Buncombe County Animal Shelter into their life saving programs.

Please consider helping us save lives by getting involved. We can't win this fight to end animal homelessness without you. Click here to learn how you can help. 

Straight Talk About Euthanasia

There are many reasons owners have their animals euthanized, including old age, illness, and serious behavior problems. Asheville Humane Society understands that this is one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner will have to make, and we are here to help you.

Many pet owners have questions and concerns about the euthanasia process. We want you to know that we treat your animal compassionately during the entire procedure. Here is some basic information about it.

1. Our euthanasia technicians are trained and caring.

The staff members responsible for euthanasia are trained and caring. They know how to keep animals calm and they make the procedure as painless and anxiety-free as possible. All staff members performing euthanasia have received training and certification through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Animal Welfare Division.

2. The procedure is humane.

The animal is brought into a quiet room that is isolated from the rest of the shelter. There are no other animals present. The animal is comforted and soothed prior to the procedure. Our technicians talk to and pet the animal, offer treats, or do anything else that may be necessary to keep the animal calm and comfortable.

3. The procedure is painless.

Euthanasia is by injection only. This is the method endorsed and approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States. A lethal dosage of sodium pentobarbital is injected into a vein. The drug, which works quickly and effectively, is designed to first put the animal to sleep and then stop its heart. There is no discomfort or pain associated with the procedure.

4. Animals are treated with the respect they deserve.

Every animal that must be euthanized is given the compassion and respect it deserves.  We believe every animal deserves the best possible end-of-life experience.

5. Private cremation may be arranged at your cost.

We can help you arrange for a private cremation. The cremation will be at your cost, and you can choose to have the ashes returned to you if you wish.