Asheville Humane Society, Animal Compassion Network to merge

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.06.11 AMPress release here. This raises a lot of questions. Will get details:

Animal Compassion Network (ACN) and Asheville Humane Society (AHS) today announced they are integrating their teams and talents to strengthen and expand their capability to save and serve more of Buncombe County’s neediest animals. “Small committees from each of our volunteer board of directors have been meeting for several months to look at ways we can work together most efficiently, effectively and creatively to the benefit of the most vulnerable animals in Buncombe County,” said Katherine Shenar, President/CEO of Asheville Humane Society.

“Some years ago, our culture of being a ‘safe for life’ agency and AHS’s commitment to being a shelter open to every homeless animal could not have meshed,” said Eileen Bouressa, Executive Director of Animal Compassion Network, “but for over two years AHS has rehomed every healthy, behaviorally sound animal who has come into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, a remarkable achievement for an open admission shelter. The goals of ACN and AHS to help save animals have always been the same. By merging our operations we can work synergistically and with less redundancy for the greater good of all animals in our community.”

“The next challenge in Buncombe County is to rehabilitate and rehome more of those animals that come through our doors as ‘unadoptable.’ These animals can now be saved with special care, time in a foster home, rehabilitative programs, training, or transport to an area with more available homes,” said Shenar. “Asheville Humane Society is already saving over 1,300 of those special needs animals each year; with a creative and dedicated partner like ACN, we can now provide more services to our community while saving more lives.”

The combined organizations will be housed under one roof at Asheville Humane Society’s Nancy Hiscoe Clark Adoption and Education Center. Asheville Humane Society runs the Adoption Center with donated funds and operates, under contract, the adjacent Buncombe County Animal Shelter.

Asheville Humane Society is the largest and oldest lifesaving organization for homeless animals in Western North Carolina, and saved 4,519 animals last year. Animal Compassion Network, founded in 1997, is the first “safe for life” animal welfare organization in this area, and saved 1,000 animals last year.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

You Might also Like


  1. We are grateful for the overwhelming support yesterday’s announcement inspired. We have indeed set high goals in working to save the lives of the neediest dogs and cats. That’s why it continues to be important that we dispel misinformation about our work and commitment. We have an extremely strong track record. Thanks to our strategic initiatives, for more than two years, through adoption, transfer, transport and innovative community programs, AHS has saved every healthy adoptable animal that has come into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter. Both organizations are hoping to save even more of the special needs animals with our combined resources.

    1. Big Al May 4, 2013

      Thank you for all you do. I now realize the error in my previous post of referring to “the neccessary evil of euthenasia of unwanted animals”, when the animals that must be euthenized are not neccessarily “unwanted”, but unhealthy and unadoptable, presumably because abuse has rendered them unsocializable and therefore a threat to other people and animals. I am sure that if the resources were available, AHS and others would ensure that all of these poor creatures could receive sanctuary and at least palliative end-of-life care, but alas, we can barely manage that with ourselves, much less with lower-caste creatures.

  2. danno May 2, 2013

    Headline typo – its Animal, not Asheville, Compassion Network

    1. Jason Sandford May 2, 2013

      thank you danno

  3. Stewart May 1, 2013

    RE: “but for over two years AHS has rehomed every healthy, behaviorally sound animal who has come into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, a remarkable achievement for an open admission shelter.”

    Wow, if only this were true. They only accomplish this by classifying animals as unhealthy or behaviorally unsound if they have the slightest problem. And, of course, most animals coming to shelters do have some problems. And AHS automatically classifies elderly animals as “unadoptable.” Gee, that sure makes us senior citizens feel good. I guess once you are old you are just trash.

    I am not criticizing AHS for euthanizing animals, that’s what open admission shelters often have to do. Sadly, there are not enough homes, and this problem will continue as long as people don’t spay and neuter, and people buy animals from pet shops, puppy mills and other breeders rather than adopting. Euthanasia is often the only option, and the most humane option. But why not be honest about it instead of manipulating the numbers so that you can pretend you are not euthanizing healthy animals? What purpose does this serve, other than AHS’s fundraising ability? Why is everything “spin” these days? This is not only sad, it perpetuates the problem. It leads to complacency in the community. When people think that the Buncombe County shelter doesn’t euthanize healthy animals, they don’t feel it is important to spay and neuter their own animals. If they have an “accidental” litter, or want their children to experience the “miracle of birth,” then they can just bring the unwanted animals to the shelter. No big deal in their minds, since healthy animals don’t get euthanized, right? But there just aren’t enough homes, so the animals will either be classified as “unhealthy” and be euthanized, or they will get adopted and take a home from an animal who will now head to the landfill in a plastic bag.

    1. Big Al May 2, 2013

      So you think they be brutally honest, lose their funding, and be shut down, leaving NO options for ANY stray or unwanted animals? Not that this would happen because donors to AHS are far smarter than you give them credit for, and they are fully aware of the neccessary evil of euthenasia of unwanted animals. Public shelters do acknowledge this truth, if not in the blatent way that you believe they should.

      Since we are talking about lies and misinformation, how about those “No-Kill” shelters that only avoid euthanizing animals by turning away those that they know they cannot find homes for. Those rejected animals end up in public shelters where they are euthanized anyway, so they should actually be called “No-Kill-Here” or “No-Kill-Yet” shelters.

      The best that government shelters and animal control agencies can do is MANAGE these problems, they cannot SOLVE them. They are doing the best they can with available resources, and you should get off their back!

  4. lisa May 1, 2013

    I sure hope this works out for the best. I have dealt with both and the difference was like night and day! ACN had fosters, could tell me everything about my dog, her preferences, behaviors, etc. The foster brought her to my house to meet my cat to make sure they would get along, did check ups after to make sure everything was going well. When we got a dog from the Humane Society, no one could tell us anything, not even how long she had been there, why she was there, if she had any issues, problems, etc. We had to take our current dog there, couldn’t bring the potential adoptee to our home to meet each other. Well we ended up having to take her back because she had so many issues. We felt terrible about it but thought if they had been honest or taken the time to really find out what they could about the dog it all could have been avoided. Then they made us feel absolutely terrible for bringing her back, which we were already feeling. Not a good experience. I hope it run more like ACN and maybe a bit less like AHS.

    1. Smytty May 1, 2013

      This, exactly. I have high hopes that ACN will use the additional resources at their disposal to continue their great work!

  5. Heather Hayes May 1, 2013

    There is a page of Asheville Humane Society’s website dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions about the joining together of Asheville Humane Society and Animal Compassion Network:

    Please contact Meghan Jordan at 828.606.8428 if you have any further questions. Thank you!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Stories