About Us

Hours for the Public

Tuesday-Friday 12:30 to 5:00
Saturday 12:30-5:00
Sunday 12:30 to 5:00

closed Mondays

312 Paws Way (physical address)
PO Box 1835
Boone, NC 28607


Contact Us

General Assistance, Adoptions, Feedback

Surrendering a Pet or Stray Animal

Spay/Neuter Reservations




Education, Programs & Events


Diamond Dogs



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Misson Statement

The mission of the Watauga Humane Society is to provide the following:

  • A well-equipped and appropriately staffed facility where the citizens of Watauga County can bring unwanted and abandoned animals;
  • Relief of suffering among animals;
  • Provisions for food, shelter, medical care, and love to homeless animals while they await permanent homes;
  • Assistance with control of unwanted animals by offering low-cost spay/neuter services;
  • Education to the public about responsible animal ownership and care.

Board Members

Board members are elected in staggered terms of three years. The board is comprised of up to 15 directors, 5 of whom are officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Board Liaison.

Charles Duke, President

Steve Duprey, Vice President


Karen D. Keys, Board Liaison

Jody Sloan, Member

Monique Eckerd, Member
Carole Cheek, Member
  Kristan Cockerill, Member
Judy Clarke, Member
Vickie Young, Treasurer
Susan Burnett, Member
Alice Roess, Member



By the Numbers

January, 2017-August, 2017





Stray at Large 244 298 5
Owner Surrender 243 204 58
Owner Intended Euthanasia (4)
2 0 0
Transferred In 67 64 0
Other Intakes 24 95 1
Intake Total 580 661 64


Adoptions 412 440 61
Return to Owner 155 16 0
Transferred Out 5 1 0
Return to Field (5)
0 38 0
Other Live Outcomes 3 44 0
Outcome Total 575 539 61


Died in Care (1)
4 12 2
Lost in Care (2)
0 0 0
Shelter Euthanasia (3)
8 31 0
Owner Intended Euthanasia (4)
1 0 0
Other Outcome Total 13 52 2

(1) Died in Care - Usually young orphaned and ill kittens, seniors, abuse and neglect victims or other animals with illnesses or injuries that they are unable to overcome, even with veterinary treatment.

(2) Lost in Care - Random and unpredictable circumstances like a cat getting out a cat room window because a visitor opens a window; a mouse chews it's way out of a cage and isn't found; a foster animal is lost on the way to the vehicle in the parking lot, etc.

(3) Shelter Euthanasia - Usually animals with significant aggression that has not responded to training or animals with terminal or untreatable illnesses or injuries.

(4) Owner Intended Euthanasia - Owners sometimes surrender their animals to us because they cannot afford euthanasia.  It is our policy to accept the surrender, do an exam and decide for ourselves whether euthanasia is necessary.  By law, we cannot and we do not perform euthanasia on animals owned by members of the public.  

(5) Return to Field - Feral cats and cats that are not socialized or otherwise appropriate for placement in an indoor environment (Barn Cats) that are released on a property with the permission of the property owner.




No Kill-Where We Stand

A "no kill" shelter is one that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to the public1. As a benchmark, at least 90% of the animals entering the shelter are expected to be saved2

In 2011 we signed an agreement with Watauga County to accept every animal within the county brought to the facility. Watauga County Animal Control brings us animals and turns their care over to us. Of course, we also accept animals from the public in Watauga County, ranging from stray animals to those for whom the owners can no longer care. 

Our new facility has allowed us the space, design and treatment space to accept animals, quarantine as necessary and ultimately move them into appropriate accomodations while awaiting adoptions. However, space is not always sufficient. 

How Did We Get Here?

Watauga Humane Society has been active in the community since 1969. It has taken many years of effort on the parts of community members, county government and leaders to reach this point. Because we accept all animals, we must deal with a variety of situations. We chose not to have to turn animals away. Many other areas in the state have placements rates below 30%. 

Finding Homes for Homeless Animals

A key component to our strategy is adopting animals out to memberss of the community. Additionally, foster situations are utilized when numbers are high or when animals need a specialized environment to best meet their needs. We also take animals out into the community through adoption faris and events. 

Preventing Unwanted Births

Each animal that enters our animal space is subject to spay/neuter if appropriate. Puppies and kittens leave the facility with a coupon for spay/neuter. Community members can use our spay/neuter program for reduced fees compared to those of veterninary clinics. Additionally, we have a very active Spay Neuter Is a Positive Solution [SNIPS] volunteer program that raises money to subsideize spay/neuter for low income families in our county. WHS works to trap, vaccinate, alter and return feral cats into the community. A barn cat program is also in place to provide more appropriate habitats for feral cats. 

Caring for the Very Sick and Injured

We strive to care for all animals and work hard not to let money play a role in animal well-being. We seek support for our emergency care funs and take advantage of on-line resources to make people aware of specific animal needs. Part of admission is also immunizing and treating for illness where possible.

Fighting Animal Cruelty

We work closely wiht local officials to prevent and prosecute animal cruelty. We also educate the community about cruelty to animals

Containing Outbreaks of Deadly Disease

Diseases can quickly spread through animal communities. WHS closely works with veterinarians and county government to minimize outbreaks and provide a quick response. 

Reuniting Loved Ones with Families

WHS quickly makes the public aware through its website and other social media of animals that come to the facility so we can reconnnect pets with their family. State law has a 72 hour hold on animals brought to the facility before they can be adopted. Additionally, pet owners who are missing a pet can upload information to our website about their lost pet. 

Fighting Hunger

Programs are in place to assist low income and elderly residents who can't afford to feed their pets. We realize it is in the best interest of the pet owner and pet to maintain their relationship and will provide food in these situations. 

What You Can Do

We strive to keep our euthanasia rate down and our numbers show we are having success. To continue to make improvements we need to:

  • Increase our numbers of foster parents. This requires not only having foster parents but talking about how this single method is relatively inexpensive and can dramatically affect euthanasia rates. We offer foster parenting classes regularly.
  • Continue to grow our spay/neuter programs. This includes greater funding for SNIPS and other programs. Being able to provide low cost spay/neuter programs while educating residents can make a huge diffference in decreasing birth rates among cats and dogs in Watauga County. 
  • Continue to educate our communites about the need for spay/neuter programs
  • Grow the number of volunteers in our Diamond Dog program and others areas of WHS.

We need your help to raise additional funding to support all these programs. We need to be able to move from covering our bills to being able to implement more programs without taking money from day to day operations. In this way we can reach our ultimate goal of being No Kill Watauga. To contribute to these efforts, go to our donation page or contact the Adoption Center at 828.264.7865

1 "No Kill 101: A Primer on No Kill Animal Control Sheltering for Public Officials", No Kill Advocacy Center, September 2, 2014

2 "Common Elements of No Kill Success", Maddie's Fund, November, 2012