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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Buncombe County, NC

Asheville is a city of almost 90,000 people located in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is the county seat of Buncombe County, which has a population of 248,000. Asheville has become a mecca for retiring baby boomers and is growing rapidly.

The city, county, and a non-profit called the Asheville Humane Society (AHS) have a cooperative arrangement for caring for homeless animals. The city and county both have animal control units that enforce ordinances, pick up strays, and respond to complaints. The Buncombe County Animal Shelter (BCAS) in Asheville houses strays for their hold period, and if they are not reclaimed they go to the AHS Nancy Hiscoe Clark Adoption and Education Center for placement. AHS contracts with the city and county to run BCAS, and BCAS and the AHS adoption center are located side-by-side on a modern campus. The shelter accepts owner surrenders with no fee and no appointment required. AHS and the shelter offer many programs.

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a non-profit that has operated in Asheville since 2007. It has an adoption center that is open 365 days a year and houses up to 100 animals. Brother Wolf has a Help Desk and a pet pantry, and it takes in some owner surrenders.

The Humane Alliance of Western North Carolina has provided low-cost spay-neuter in the area since 1994, and reports that it has sterilized 350,000 animals. The Humane Alliance partners with BCAS, PetSmart Charities, and the Mimi Paige Foundation to provide trap-neuter-return for community cats. AHS and the shelter are part of the Million Cat Challenge.

A news report on January 29, 2015, stated that BCAS took in 5900 animals in 2014 and euthanized 16% of them. The shelter adopted out about 3000 animals, returned about 960 to their owners, and transferred about 800.

Buncombe County is counted in the Running Totals as an 80%-90% community.



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