Buncombe County Animal Shelter

The Buncombe County Animal Shelter is located at 16 Forever Friend Lane.


Welcome to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, one of the nicest and newest animal sheltering facilities in the Country. This modern facility is located on the Buncombe County Animal Care Campus adjacent to Asheville Humane Society’s Adoption and Education Center. The Animal Care Campus facilities opened to the public on September 14, 2010.


Since 1990 Asheville Humane Society animal care professionals have operated the Buncombe County Animal Shelter operations under contracts with Buncombe County and City of Asheville. This public/private partnership devoted to animal welfare is becoming a model for other communities across the nation.  

What happens when an animal comes into the shelter?

Animals at the Buncombe County Animal Shelter receive compassionate, humane care by Asheville Humane Society staff and volunteers. During an animal's stay at the animal shelter they receive preventative medical care and additional medical attention as necessary, while receiving daily care and enrichment in a comfortable setting.

Most of the animals who come into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter do so as either owner surrender or stray.

Owner surrendered animals are evaluated shortly after arrival for medical and temperament soundness. Healthy animals are quickly made available for adoption and travel across the Walk of Life to the Asheville Humane Society's Adoption Center on campus or to one of the adoption placement partners in the Buncombe County Animal Coalition (Brother Wolf Animal Rescue or Animal Compassion Network). Other options for placement include breed placement groups, specialty groups or transport to another area of the country with less of a companion animal homelessness problem. 

Stray animals are held at the Buncombe County Animal Shelter for the minimum statutory holding period of 72 hours while Shelter Staff investigate to find possible owners and reunite lost animals with their families. During this time Asheville Humane Society staff provide compassionate care to help the lost animals be as comfortable as possible while they wait for their families to find them. For many stray animals their families are not found and ownership by Asheville Humane Society is assumed legally after the minimum 72 hour holding period. Work then can begin on trying to find new families for these animals through all of the same avenues listed above for owner surrender animals.

Do all animals coming into the county shelter get adopted?

100% of all healthy, adoptable animals coming into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter are adopted through the Asheville Humane Society Adoption Center, or another placement partner.

Additionally the majority of unhealthy treatable and rehabilitatable animals entering the animal shelter are also adopted. These are animals with a good prognosis of recovery and can be restored to health if there are homes in which to nurture or socialize them, or funds available for comprehensive veterinary treatment or surgery. When an animal has a treatable medical or temperament condition, Asheville Humane Society will try to place the animal in a foster home for healing and rehabilitation, or transfer the animal to a placement partner with resources to care for the animal. Asheville Humane Society and other placement partners in the Buncombe County Animal Coalition each draw as they can from this pool of unhealthy animals and save as many lives as collectively can be saved with the available resources at the time.

But when none of the rescue groups can take the special needs animals, when every foster home is full, when there are no resources left, it is the trained and certified shelter staff who will have the heartbreaking task of ending the suffering of the animals who could, in an ideal world, be treated and saved.We still cannot save every animal that arrives at the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, but it is the hope and goal of Asheville Humane Society and the other members of the Buncombe County Animal Coalition someday to be able to treat, heal and place every single one that can be helped. 

However, as the only public open-admission animal shelter in Buncombe County, the Shelter receives and cares for animals that are aggressive, dangerous, suffering a severe debilitating illness or injury, have a poor prognosis of recovery and/or are unsuited for re-homing. These animals are humanely and compassionately euthanized in accordance with the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations by North Carolina state certified personnel.