Avery Humane Society


Our Hours

Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Sunday Noon to 4 P.M.

About Us:

Avery County Humane Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Income sources are: Adoption fees, Happy Paws Pet Boutique located in the shelter, Paws and Claws resale store, fundraising events, grants, and general donations.

  • 7% of our total expenses are covered by a donation by Avery County. This money is restricted in use and goes towards a portion of our utility expenses.
  • 80% of our adoptions and 80% of our financial support comes from outside Avery County.
  • Our monthly operating expenses are close to $60,000.00

Avery County Humane Society receives no direct funding from the government, United Way, or any other national group with a similar name. It is NOT affiliated with any county or national organization.

We have approximately 1500 visitors per year and close to 803 adoptions in 2014. Our facility can house approximately 95 animals.

We have been operating as a Non-profit Charity since 1978. We moved into our new facility in April 2012. It was the vision of concerned animal lovers who were motivated by our high kill euthanasia rate of 50%-70% at our old facility. Their dream was to create a new shelter in Avery County that was "No Kill". Without Animal Control in Avery County it makes it impossible to fully realize that dream.

Avery County Humane Society is a "Low Kill", "Limited Admission" facility.

  • New animals are accepted by appointment only when space is available.
    • Funding to support animals also has a direct effect on if we can take in more.
  • We will not euthanize a healthy adoptable animal to make space.
    • Unfortunately animals will be turned away regardless of circumstances if there is no room to take them.
  • We use a waiting list for animals that need to come in.
    • Those on the waiting list have first priority.
  • Our Intake office is closed on Sundays.
  • Anyone picking up a stray animal is assuming responsibility for that animal until we have room to take it. They are not working as an agent of the Humane Society.
    • Strays animals are normally taken to an Animal Control facility or the county pound and turned away at Humane Societies until room is available.
  • As a privately run, Limited Admission, facility we have the right to turn away any animal without obligation.
    • Animals that have bitten or need immediate Vet care will be turned away.

§  We do not want to put our staff or the public in harm's way with an aggressive animal.

§  We do not have a Vet on staff.

Avery County Humane Society has no legal authority to respond to animal neglect or abuse cases. We cannot trespass on private property. For insurance and liability reasons we cannot leave our facility to conduct rescue or pick up of animals that are not the property of Avery County Humane Society.


All intakes are required to be held for a period of 72 hours before they can be adopted, euthanized, or altered per Senate Bill 626 - Section 2, Chapter 19A of the General Statutes 19A-32.1

(a)   "All animals received by an animal shelter or by an agent of an animal shelter be held for a minimum holding period of 72 hours".

After the 72 hour hold period the animal becomes the property of Avery County Humane Society. The law is in place to allow the animal to be reclaimed and for staff to observe health or behavioral related problems.

Upon intake all animals are:

  • Tested for heartworm or communicable diseases
  • Vaccinated
  • Micro-chipped
  • Wormed

Avery County Humane Society spends $150 in the first hour of a new animal arriving. These services have to be performed to protect the animal arriving and those that are currently being housed at the shelter. If the animal is reclaimed then any expense incurred is to be reimbursed by the owner. Depending on their length of stay we spend approximately $400 on every animal on just medical expenses. It can be more if the animal becomes ill and we decide it is adoptable and cost effective to save.


Adopters are adopting animals "as is". If we know at the time of an illness or we are treating an illness that information is shared with them and it is their choice if they want to adopt it or not. Once the adoption is complete the adopter has to take immediate possession of the animal. The shelter has no more responsibility regarding the health or expense of that animal or the vaccinations due after that point.

All animals are spayed/neutered and their entire medical records are provided as part of the adoption agreement. They are also given a FREE Vet check at one of our participating Vet offices and a FREE collar, 30 days FREE pet insurance, and coupons at area pet stores including Petango an online pet store.

Goodwill to Community:

In exchange for the donation made by the county we offer many low cost, or free programs to the county.

  • Low to no adoption fees
  • We take in strays in addition to owner surrendered pets.
  • Lower euthanasia costs when pets are at the end of their life.
  • We've fixed over 1000 Avery County public owned cats and dogs for free and gave free rabies vaccines to the cost exceeding $60,000.00
  • When we have a surplus of donated food we open a food bank for those in financial stress so that they could keep their pets.
  • In tandem with the local prison 30 dogs are trained a year by prisoners that would otherwise be euthanized.
    • This program turns un-adoptable dogs into well trained pets
    • It is enriching for the prisoners. They leave with an AKC training certificate to help with getting jobs when released.
  • We sponsor low cost shot and micro-chip clinics for the community.
  • We offer education for county students
  • Volunteering and Community service opportunities
  • 100's of pets are reunited with their loved ones each year through our lost and found program.
  • Test Drive program: Allows potential adopters to see if an animal will be a good fit for their home prior to adopting them. 95% success rate.
  • We increase visitation and revenue to our County through social media bringing adopters to us to adopt.
  • We partner with North Shore Animal League in a shelter exchange program.
    • This increases the turn over time which allows us to take in more county dogs.
    • NSAL takes dogs from Avery County that are not getting adopted here to New York. In exchange we take dogs from neighboring county high kill shelters that are more adoptable but slated to be euthanized for space. If we do not adopt them by the next transport then they take them to NY.
  • We provide employment opportunities.


  • No animal control in Avery County
  • Being the only rescue in Avery County we cannot help every animal but only a small percentage.
  • The public perception that we are an "Open Admission" facility.
  • The public perception that we are a "County or Municipal" run pound that gives them certain entitlements.
  • The public perception that we are animal control.
  • Avery County has a huge animal over-population problem and doesn't have the resources to handle it.
  • Loss of revenue when people refuse to reimburse us for expenses on reclaimed animals


Paws and Claws Retail Store

A small brick house located adjacent to the new shelter site in Newland is operated as the Paws & Claws Resale Shop. The shop accepts donations of new and lightly used items which are under appreciated in their original homes but are destined to become treasures in their new homes. Paws & Claws does for furniture, clothing, nick-knacks and household items what our adoption center does for the animals of Avery County! Call Patti Manning for more information. 828-733-0025




We are sponsored by:

Bear Creek

Pet Place


Protect your pet. ShelterCare Pet Insurance Programs

Boone Portraits

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