About Us



P.A.W.S. Mission Statement

To help alleviate the suffering of abandoned abused, homeless and injured animals in Swain County.  We provide a caring haven and find loving homes for as many as possible. Through community outreach, education and media, we seek to transform local cultural norms so that human-animal bonding and neuter/spay become more widely practiced in our region.

Placing Animals Within Society

P.A.W.S. is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1990 to help the plight of abandoned, unwanted, and stray animals in Swain County, North Carolina. Through fund-raising activities, donations and grants, PAWS has been able to build a much needed no-kill animal shelter. Donations, memberships, and fund raisers also provide our operational budget. 

Our Goals

  • To shelter and find good homes for unwanted and stray animals.
  • To continue our education program in the Swain County school system teaching children responsible and kind animal care.
  • To provide a low cost spay/neuter certificate program.

The Shelter

  • Adopts animals to screened applicants.
  • Provides a central contact for lost and found animals.
  • Accepts stray animals first and then owner-relinquished animals when space is available.
  • Conducts microchip identification scanning on each incoming animal.
  • Provides medical care for animals in shelter, up to date vaccinations, de-worming, feline leukemia tests on cats and kittens and spay and neuter when needed.
  • Treats our animals as we treat our own; with love, care, attention, and respect.


Adopting A Friend

 Adoption Program

Whether you’re a first time adopter or looking for another companion, chances are there is someone waiting just for you at PAWS.  While we never know from day to day who will come through our doors needing shelter, most of the time we have a variety of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens to suit what you’re looking for in a companion pet.

Our staff knows each animal very well.  Spending time each day with each animal gives her a good background on their personality, temperament, activity level and emotional needs.  This information helps her to match up the adopter with the adoptee resulting in a successful and lifelong human/animal companionship.

How Do I Adopt?

  • Come in and tell us what type of companion pet you're looking for
  • Meet and greet your potential matches
  • Talk with our staff and fill out an adoption application

Adoption Fee

Adoption fee is $65.00 for a cat and $85.00 for a dog. This fee helps to defray the basic medical care given to each animal that comes into the shelter.

Your pet will have the following:


Who We Are

P.A.W.S Animal Shelter - Who We Are

Welcome to P.A.W.S., a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in Bryson City, Swain County, NC.  We’re glad you’re here!

It all started....... 

TsaliIn 1990, a group of people in Swain County, NC, concerned by the number of homeless animals, many in need of medical assistance, like Sonny, founded P.A.W.S. as a way to help.  In a rural, economically depressed area with no county animal control resources available, P.A.W.S. became a volunteer based foster care network that established a low-cost neuter/spay program in collaboration with local veterinarians. 

To help fund these veterinary costs, more volunteers were recruited in 1993 and P.A.W.S. opened a small thrift store business in the community.  Today, the store provides 43% of the money needed to keep our shelter doors open, providing much needed services to our community.

Through thrift store sales, grants and private donations, enough funds were raised to purchase land and an all volunteer crew built our no-kill shelter in 1995. 

What We've Accomplished

P.A.W.S. has provided financial assistance for 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries. We have adopted out over 2,500 animals and reunited hundreds of lost animals with their people.We are the only shelter in the county, serving 14,000 people. Although P.A.W.S. doesn't receive any help from the county government, our dedication to the animals and community has resulted in a decrease in the number of homeless dogs and cats.

Small But Mighty

P.A.W.S. is a small shelter, which allows us to give lots of attention to the animals we take in.  (The downside is that we don’t get to take in as many cats and dogs as we would like.)  So, whether you are looking for a new pet, or a way to help out in the community, P.A.W.S. is the place to be!


Come Visit Us


PAWS Adoption Center & Offices
57 Lemons Branch Road
PO Box 1814
Bryson City, NC 28713
PAWS Thrift Store
110 Bryson Walk
Bryson City, NC 28713
Great bargains for a great cause!

Contact PAWS Animal Shelter


Available Animals

Happy Tails

Powered by Petfinder

Loading Pets...