Animal Haven of Asheville (a 501c3 organization) has been in operation for 14 years and is located in East Asheville. The ten acre sanctuary is currently home to 100 homeless and abused animals, with an emphasis on farm animals. Current residents include sheep, goats, geese, pot belly pigs, ducks, rabbits, chickens, cats, and dogs. Animal Haven receives many of the farm animals from cruelty cases and animal shelters all over Western North Carolina. Each animal that comes to live at the sanctuary receives any necessary medical treatment, rehabilitation, and enormous amounts of nurturing from the volunteers. Animal Haven of Asheville is a cage free environment and those animals unable to be placed in a forever home live their lifetime at the sanctuary.
Animal Haven of Asheville is a volunteer based organization with volunteers ranging in age from six to sixty six. Opportunities for volunteers range from hands on with the animals i.e. feeding, cleaning animal habitats, walking dogs to working in our on site Thrift Store. The 1500 square foot thrift store was built by volunteers and through the generosity of the community is overflowing with housewares, furniture, clothes, books, tools, electronics, jewelry, and more. Since Animal Haven is a volunteer based organization, all the proceeds from the thrift store benefit the animals.
Animal Haven has a very strong and all inclusive Humane Education program. Throughout the year, many schools come to the sanctuary either to work directly with animals or for an educational tour about the current animals and the plight of homeless and abused animals in the community and beyond. Once a month for the past seven years, 2nd and 3rd graders come out to help feed the animals and clean their habitats. Groups of college students also come out for major projects such as fencing, painting, cleaning the creek etc. Rehabilitation centers also pitch in as well as church groups, mentor programs, and Brownie Troops, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Eagle Scouts.
Animal Haven is also involved with the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women (for the past 8 years) and the Craggy Correctional Center for Men(for the past 2 years) through the “New Leash on Life” program. This program allows up to five homeless dogs to live at these facilities for an 8 – 12 week period where they are taught basic obedience, crate training, housebreaking, socialization etc. by inmates selected to be their trainers. An outside trainer visits weekly to instruct the inmate trainers and to address any other issues. Animal Haven provides all medical, food, crates, toys, treats, food, blankets etc. During this training period new homes are actively sought for the dogs and upon graduation, complete with “pomp and circumstance”, the dogs are united with their new families.
This program is a new leash on life for the participating dogs, making them highly adoptable, well rounded and well loved. But it is also a lease on life for the inmates/trainers directly involved and for the entire inmate population. These dogs allow an outlet for love, compassion, friendship, and nurturing for the trainers, a reason to get up every morning, responsibility for a living, breathing creature. For everyone involved, new friendships are made, grievances are down, and morale sky rockets. The presence of these dogs has created a powerful environment in these facilities, and a change in the lives of the trainers that has no limits and will be with all of them forever. To learn more about this program or to learn about the dogs for adoption, call Animal Haven at 828-299-1635.
Animal Haven of Asheville is located at 65 Lower Grassy Branch Road in East Asheville and is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. Visit the website at animalhaven.org.
Animal Haven residents Homer and Clyde, above, and Murphy and Sampson, below.
The dogs in the New Leash on Life program spend 8-12 weeks in the prison with inmate trainers before going home with their adopted family.