ASPCA opens state-of-the-art behavioral rehabilitation center in - FOX Carolina 21

ASPCA opens state-of-the-art behavioral rehabilitation center in NC

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On Thursday, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) opened the doors to a new 28,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility in Weaverville.

"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," said the agency in a release.

The facility features an innovative training program and offers the "greater capacity to rehabilitate homeless dogs across the country."

The new building comes after a successful 4-year behavioral rehabilitation pilot program in New Jersey, where ASPCA officials said over 300 dogs with debilitating behavior issues were successfully treated and made available for adoption.

The agency released the following information about the new facility:

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.” 

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