ASPCA Opens Permanent, State-of-the-Art Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Weaverville, North Carolina

After year-long project, the 28,000-square-foot facility unveils innovative training program and greater capacity to rehabilitate homeless dogs across the country
May 10, 2018

Weaverville, N.C.—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announces the official opening of its Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Weaverville, N.C, approximately 10 miles north of Asheville. The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center (BRC) is the first-ever permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of extremely fearful, unadoptable homeless dogs, most of whom are victims of cruelty or neglect.

The ASPCA opened this new permanent facility following the success of a four-year behavioral rehabilitation pilot program in New Jersey, where more than 300 dogs suffering from debilitating behavior issues were successfully treated. These dogs were made available for adoption with rescue groups and shelters, including the ASPCA Adoption Center, across the country.

Covering 13 acres, the BRC has the capacity to rehabilitate 65 dogs at any given time. They will be treated daily by a dedicated team of animal behavior experts implementing scientifically sound techniques to reduce their fear of people and acclimate them to real-life situations that can induce trauma and severe stress. The Watershed Foundation provided significant grant funding to support the development of the year-long BRC expansion project in Weaverville.

“This new customized facility builds on the successes of our pilot project to impact many more traumatized and fearful animals both locally and nationwide through specialized training and idea-sharing,” said ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker. “I’m thankful to our dedicated staff and partners for helping us turn an ambitious vision into a lifesaving reality for animals in crisis. They all deserve second chances.”

Shelter dogs of all breeds and ages are accepted at the BRC so long as they are physically healthy and exhibit fearful behavior that compromise their quality of life and make adoption challenging or impossible. Dogs who graduate from the rehabilitation program will be placed with shelters and rescue groups across the country for adoption.

In addition to rehabilitating severely fearful dogs, the ASPCA will be launching an innovative, research-based training program, called the Learning Lab, at the BRC for select shelters around the country. The facility includes a dormitory and space for shelter professionals to visit and learn from the BRC team so they can implement specialized rehabilitation techniques and targeted sheltering protocols into their own operations. As the Learning Lab program evolves, the ASPCA plans to develop a national network of partner organizations who can share learnings and best practices with other agencies in their communities to help save more lives.

“We look forward to expanding the impact our work at the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center by having shelter professionals visit us, collaborate with us, and apply key learnings to help homeless dogs in their communities,” said Kristen Collins, vice president of the ASPCA Behavior Rehabilitation Center. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from our colleagues in the animal welfare community as well as those who have been integral in the development of this lifesaving endeavor.”

Later this year, ASPCA behavior experts will share findings from a research study conducted during the BRC pilot program to help shelters and rescue groups across the country rehabilitate homeless dogs from similar backgrounds. The work of the BRC program is showcased in an award-winning ASPCA documentary, “Second Chance Dogs”, which is available on For more information on the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, please visit