When The Pet Adoption and Welfare Society was formed in 2001 the goal was to increase the number of adoptions and decrease the euthanasia of homeless dogs and cats in the public animal shelter.

For 2001 the statistics were 211 adoptions and 4,625 euthanasias. PAWS adopted the public-private approach to working on a solution to the pet overpopulation problem in Alamance County. A professional public opinion poll was commissioned which revealed that Alamance County residents felt strongly about their pets. 71% considered them “part of the family” two thirds didn’t know about the high euthanasia and low adoption and 88% wanted public officials to work to improve things for homeless animals.

Having found this strong public support PAWS convened a Shelter Improvement Committee consisting of government officials, police representatives, veterinarians, and animal advocates.  The commission recommended building a Pet Adoption Center adjacent to the 1960’s shelter.  PAWS raised a third of the funds from the private sector, Alamance County contributed a third and the City of Burlington contributed the remaining third and the land. The new adoption center was completed in 2004. In the twelve years since its completion adoptions have risen to 2,700 a year and euthanasia is decreasing every year.

PAWS also pays the rent on a Spay Neuter Clinic operated by the City of Burlington since 2010 which is helping the intake go down. In mid July low cost spay neuters will be performed five days a week. While our overpopulation problems are far from solved things are steadily improving. 

Now we have to turn our attention and our resources to replacing the crumbling intake building which no longer meets even the minimum standards set and enforced by the NC Department of Agriculture. Well beyond its useful life it has no air-conditioning or the air handling necessary of animal health and prevention of disease. The noise is overwhelming and stress inducing for animals, the staff and the public. Other problems include poor lighting, inadequate work space for staff, poor drainage, unpleasant odors in spite of constant cleaning are just a few of the problems that abound in the current building.

Another study committee was convened by PAWS in cooperation with local governing bodies and the recommendation of that committee was that the current intake building must be replaced and the best approach would be to add on to the 2004 Pet Adoption Center putting all the animals, staff and resources under one roof.

PAWS has entered into another public/private partnership agreeing to raise $750,000 from the private sector to match the $4.5 million from Alamance County, the City of Burlington and other municipalities in the county.