AARC volunteers with kitten
AARC volunteer with dog
Appalachian Animal Rescue Center volunteers
AARC thrift store volunteer

Who We Are

Appalachian Animal Rescue Center is a not-for-profit, 501(c) 3, no-kill humane society located in western North Carolina.

Our Mission

Our mission is to maintain a shelter for stray and abandoned dogs and cats in Macon County, to promote spaying and neutering, and to educate the public about state regulations and communicable diseases including rabies.

Our History

Founded by a small group of volunteers in 1962 and incorporated one year later, we were known as the Macon County Humane Society. At the time, rural western North Carolina was besieged by free-roaming dogs and cats. No facility existed in Macon county to house homeless pets. Five individuals came together to solve the problem. In the beginning, we sheltered animals in our own homes. Our local veterinarian, Dr. Fisher, provided vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery. We then sought to re-home these animals permanently. Six years later, in 1968, our first shelter was built on four acres of donated land. In 2014, to avoid being confused with the new county animal control facility (Macon County Animal Services), we began doing business as Appalachian Animal Rescue Center, a no-kill humane society. The AARC Thrift Store, located at 1521 Old Murphy Road, in Franklin, opened in 2007. Our thrift store is a thriving, dynamic operation staffed by employees and volunteers that serves to meet the financial needs of our shelter.

Our shelter, located at 851 Lake Emory Road in Franklin, houses some 80-100 dogs and cats. Animal Care Technicians provide for our animals 365 days a year. We offer low-cost spaying and neutering, vaccines, and microchip implantation through Humane Alliance, and ASPCA clinic in Asheville. We take in animals from the public, as well as animals from the county shelter, and place them in permanent homes. Our transport program, meanwhile, gives cats and dogs a second chance in areas of the country where available pets are scarce.

Appalachian Animal Rescue Center's shelter in Franklin, NC
The Appalachian Animal Rescue Center Thrift Store in Franklin, NC
Appalachian Animal Rescue Center

Looking Ahead

Appalachian Animal Rescue Center is growing! We are renovating our old shelter to house a quarantine unit, laundry, and living quarters. This will serve to prevent the spread of disease while ensuring sick animals receive focused care, even after hours. In the planning stage is a“woods walk” and shaded patio area, providing even more ways for volunteers and visitors to get acquainted with our animals.

We seek to spread our message that spay & neuter is the best solution to pet overpopulation. By recruiting volunteers with a variety of talents and abilities, we can educate the public, increase participation in our low-cost spay & neuter program, and strengthen donor support. Check out our volunteer opportunities here.

Our Impact 2020

Second chances provided through adoption and transport

Animals fed through pet food giveaways

Hours volunteers contributed

Dogs and cats spayed and neutered

Animals fostered

Major surgeries to make pets adoptable

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Cathy Howman, President

Jami Gibson, Vice President

Judy Wiley, Treasurer

Mariann Huston, Secretary

Joe Brogden, Director

Gary Smith, Director

Christine Basey, Director

Todd Ortiz, Director of Operations

Lisa Bates, Shelter Manager

Sara Ellis, Assistant Shelter Manager

Vince Barone, Thrift Store Manager