How We’re Building No-Kill Communities Through Chapter Locations

By Audrey Lodato, Animal Care Director

Ten years ago, our organization’s president Denise Bitz founded Brother Wolf Animal Rescue with one thing in mind —  stop the mass killing of shelter animals in Buncombe County. When Brother Wolf was founded in 2007, the county animal shelter was still killing more than 70% of the animals that came in – – thousands per year! Denise cashed in her retirement fund, purchased a tobacco warehouse in a run down neighborhood, converted it to an Adoption Center, and got to work. With the aim of doing high volume intake and adoption, Brother Wolf worked furiously to save the life of every at risk animal in the Buncombe County Shelter system.

Click here to learn more about what Buncombe County was like for animals before Brother Wolf began

It was never easy, but Denise and the team that became Brother Wolf had a tireless determination to succeed. Along with the efforts of other local organizations to improve upon traditional sheltering methods, Brother Wolf pushed the county save rate forward at an astounding number. Soon, instead of 70% of animals entering the county shelter system being killed, 90% of them were being saved, and our community became a role model for communities across the country.

Click here to learn how we built a No-Kill community together

Buncombe County is proof that saving the majority of animals is possible. And yet, there is still so much work to be done.

In our work, there is something called the No-Kill curve. That means as communities save more and more animals, and as the life-saving percentage goes up, it often happens that the last ten percent of animals needing rescue have very different needs than the highly-adoptable 90%.

Animals in that last, top tenth percentile tend to come into shelter environments with both health and behavior problems, which are sometimes severe. They are the last to be rescued in any No-Kill community, and we’re building our Sanctuary to make sure that these most difficult cases have every chance of finding a home. Read more about why we need the sanctuary HERE.

Click here to learn about how our Sanctuary will help ALL animals

Some communities choose not to move forward and work to save these more difficult animals. Instead, they import highly-adoptable animals from other communities to fill their shelters to ensure that the community members can always find a good fit for their home. While this practice saves the lives of those individual animals, it has a fatal flaw that must be recognized: this practice doesn’t help the neighboring communities learn to save lives themselves. Without progressive practices and life-saving techniques being brought into those communities and implemented, they will continue to struggle and they will continue to kill.

At Brother Wolf, we believe in saving the animals that are the most challenging in our own flagship community of Buncombe County. We also believe in saving the animals at risk in neighboring communities by teaching them how to do in their communities what we have done here.

Brother Wolf has made an important and significant choice to help with both the the last ten percent in Buncombe county and help our neighboring communities build No-Kill resources. We’ve done this by opening chapter Brother Wolf locations in several struggling communities throughout the southeast. Brother Wolf began our chapter project with the goal of creating a replicable No-Kill model in each community. Our hope is that the chapters will succeed and become a model for other communities to follow. This is hard, laborious work, beginning once again at square one. Fortunately, we know so much more now then we did ten years ago!

We’ve opened each chapter with a few key components we felt were essential. Chapters have a small physical location to operate out of, a compassionate and hardworking Chapter Manager who believes in the No-Kill mission, and the firm belief that the community would support our efforts to save their animals.

The chapters are at the very beginnings of their respective journeys to achieve No-Kill. Gathering community support in our chapter communities is crucial to save these lives. We’d like to ask today that you help us replicate the success we’ve had in Buncombe County in our chapter communities by taking a few simple, easy steps:

  1. Spread the word. Talk about our mission to replicate No-Kill in these communities by sharing this post with your friends.
  2. Follow our chapters on Facebook to stay informed of what’s happening in each community:

McDowell County

Rutherford County

Henderson County

Dickenson, Virginia

  1. Support them financially. You can donate to chapters to help save lives in their communities directly through their Facebook pages.
  2. Volunteer. Our Chapters need caring and compassionate individuals most of all, and chapter volunteers can help in many ways (working in our thrift stores, driving animals to medical appointments, helping care for sick and injured animals, etc.). To volunteer at one of the chapters, simply email the chapter manager.

McDowell County –

Rutherford County –

Henderson County –

Dickenson County, VA –

  1. Foster. If you live in one of our chapter communities, we’d love to get you started as a foster family. We provide all of the medical care and supplies, and you provide the love and affection until the animal is ready to find their forever home.  To foster for one of our chapters, simply email the chapter manager.

McDowell County –

Rutherford County –

Henderson County –

Dickenson County, VA –

  1. Join the mailing list for the chapter in your community by filling out a simple form located HERE.

Thank you for joining us on this new and exciting journey to save lives. We know that we can replicate the success we’ve had in Buncombe County because we know how amazing our supporters are. The animals in these communities are counting on YOU to change their lives forever.  Please help!


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