Some dogs need a little TLC and training before they go to forever homes. Take us, greyhounds, for example. We don't understand glass like windows and glass doors. Never seen it. And sometimes, because we only saw other greyhounds, we don't understand other breeds. That's why the greyhound foster program is so important. But some dogs have more challenges. And this great place in Weaverville can help! Help them to help if you can.
Your Shop Dogs with Love, Cate and Bandit
Story and Photographs from The Asheville Citizen Times
Story by Beth Walton
WEAVERVILLE - Construction has begun on the $9 million dog rehabilitation facility the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals plans to put in Buncombe County.
The 35,000-square-foot center will be at an old cement plant on Murphy Hill Road in Weaverville. Permits were filed with the county last month.
The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center should open between September and December, said Emily Schneider, a spokeswoman for the ASPCA, a New York-based nonprofit that supports shelters, rescue and advocacy groups across the U.
Initially, dogs would score poorly on behavior screening, but staff and volunteers were able to improve their quality of life to prepare them for adoption, he said. The ASPCA formally expanded its research at the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, in spring 2013.
The pilot program ran for four years, and the ASPCA is gearing up to celebrate the seven dogs that are part of its last group of canine graduates before opening the permanent facility in Weaverville.
“The progress we’ve made since the opening of the center (in New Jersey) nearly four years ago is remarkable,” said Kristen Collins, senior director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation, in a statement.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and look forward to continuing and advancing the work at our new permanent facility, which will have greater capacity to train visiting professionals as well as rehabilitate animals.”
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA operates on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law.
With $214 million in reported net assets in 2015, the nonprofit is the largest animal welfare agency in the United States.
The ASPCA acquired Asheville's Humane Alliance, a world renown high volume spay and neuter clinic and training facility, in 2015. The move allowed the program's budget to expand by an additional $1 million annually.
Some of the 1.3 million dogs euthanized in shelters across the country each year are put down because they suffer from behavior conditions that are the result of cruelty, abuse and neglect, Bershadker said in 2015. These animals come to shelters from places like puppy mills, hoarders and dog fighters where they were never socialized for human interaction.
"Overwhelmingly, we saw you can turn an incredibly fearful, unsocialized dog into a loving pet," he said that January when the ASPCA announced its plans for the Weaverville center. "They are called companion animals for a reason. Dogs and cats do best when they are living with people."
Rehabilitation is done by desensitizing animals from their prior, horrific everyday experiences and exposing them to ordinary everyday activities at their own pace, Bershadker said.
Behaviorists do simple things like putting a collar on a dog for a few seconds and then removing it, he added. They also expose animals to a television or read to them so they can get use to hearing a human voice.