The merger, announced on May 1, was not born of financial need, she explains. “We’re coming off one of our strongest years yet,” Jordan says. “Asheville Humane is really much stronger than we were five years ago. I think that’s true for both organizations.”
Jordan also says that both organizations would have continued operating independently, but the new partnership allow them to combine resources and offer a greater range of services. “Animal Compassion Network will bring the services they excel at. As a department, they will focus on transport services, and they have an excellent foster system already in place,” she says.
Eileen Bouressa, executive director of Animal Compassion network, says, “We’ve transitioned from our original roots of being a reactive animal resuce organization to a proactive pet parent support organization. Our programs now focus more on being a resource for the community.”
In the next few weeks, Animal Compassion Network will make the transition and begin to operate as a department of the humane society, working out of the AHS Adoption and Education Center in Asheville, located off Brevard Road near the Western North Carolina Farmers Market.
The adoption center opened three years ago and was funded entirely through private donations, Jordan mentions. “We ran a capital campaign and were able to move into the building debt free,” she says. “Today we can focus all resources to care for the animals we serve.”
The merger, which has been in the works since last summer, will allow both nonprofits to devote resources to animals that, previously, couldn’t be placed. “One of the main things that’s going to come out of this is the ability to provide for second-tier animals, those animals that otherwise may be unadoptable for medical or behavioral issues,” Jordan says.
Asheville Humane Society adopted out 2,600 animals last year, she reports.
“I would say this is the result of private donations from a terrific community,” Jordan continues. “Asheville is a great source of animal welfare. They are unbelievably generous when it comes to animals here.”
Unlike AHS, Animal Compassion Network functions on a no-kill philosophy and is now the largest, safe-for-life animal welfare nonprofit in WNC.
— Jackie Starkey is an Xpress editorial intern and senior at UNCA.