Mission Statement

Paws4ever is a guaranteed-adoption animal shelter and sanctuary dedicated to improving the lives of cats and dogs through adoption, training and education.


Our History: Paws4ever began advocating for animal welfare in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1962 as the Animal Protection Society of Chapel Hill. It incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 1972 and as its sphere of services expanded to serve the whole county, changed its name to the Animal Protection Society of Orange County, Inc. in 1977. From 1979–2004, the APS of Orange County, Inc., as a nonprofit charitable organization also administered the county government contract to operate county animal control services and its open-admission animal shelter, providing rescue, health exams, humane care, nutritional food, disease and parasite control, and veterinary care for sick or injured animals arriving in its care. Through those 25 years, APS of Orange County, Inc., proved itself to be a progressive and dedicated organization to the welfare of all animals and, with the help of several very generous donors, developed the Felicite Latane Animal Sanctuary on 50 acres near Mebane. It is here that the APS of Orange County built and operated a learning center for dog training and a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.

In 2000, the APS of Orange County began a capital campaign to build a second shelter facility at the sanctuary location, to expand its take-in capacity, to shelter more animals and to adopt out more companion animals. In 2003, the wildlife center moved from the sanctuary and out of APS of Orange County auspices to become Piedmont Wildlife Center. In July of 2004, after 25 years of administration, the county government ended its contract with the APS of Orange County to run its animal control services and shelter. In October 2004, the APS of Orange County opened the recently completed Adoption Center at the sanctuary as a closed-admission, guaranteed adoption center.

Today, the Adoption Center is a placement partner for animals transferred from county shelters, including Orange, Chatham and Caswell, where the number of adoptable pets outpaces the space to house them. The Learning Center provides the most affordable and comprehensive array of dog training in our area, and the sanctuary is home to a 3-acre dog park.

In October of 2008, 43 years after its beginning, the Animal Protection Society of Orange County changed its name to Paws4ever to better reflect the current mission and programs. Our current name and its tagline, "Adopt & Train." brings focus to the core areas of service that continue to make our whole community a progressive leader in the humane treatment of animals.

Paws4ever People

Paws4ever Staff

Our mission to help animals succeeds through the tireless dedication of caring people. These are the people whose love for our furry friends shows no limit:

  • Kathryn Ruggeri
    Executive Director
  • Laura Griest
    Legacy Care Program Manager
  • Julie Jenkins
    Dog Training Manager
  • Katy McClure
    Animal Volunteer Manager
  • Marian Powell
    Animal Care Assistant Manager
  • Shannon Ducrest
    Animal Care Assistant Manager
  • Josie Carmona
    Guest & Adoption Services Assistant Manager
  • Janine Songer
    Animal Care Associate
  • Kathy McVay
    Business Manager
  • Sondra Jones
    Development Manager
  • Shaina Bradshaw
    Cleaning Associate
  • Matthew Hamilton
    Cleaning Associate
  • Elizabeth Kenney
    Cleaning Associate
  • Judi Torres
    ReSale Store Manager

2015 Board of Directors

Our dedicated and generous board of directors members serve two-year terms to govern and direct the programs and services available at Paws4ever. Nominations for board service must be received by the November board meeting each year and members are elected in December. Paws4ever is currently seeking new board members, particularly with experience in finance or development. Those interested should email our board president.

  • Kendall Page, President
  • John Wise, Treasurer
  • Perry Dowd, Secretary
  • Keller Kaufman-Fox, Asst. Secretary
  • Laura Griest, ex officio
  • Ann Petersen
  • Jaye Kreller
  • Lisa Fedele
  • Jill Mccullough
  • Leigh Matthews
  • Becky Nichols

Dog Park & Nature Trail

General Information

Dog Park
The Paws4ever Dog Park is a fenced three-acre off-leash socialization and play area for your dog. The park is located on the grounds of the Felicite Latane Animal Sanctuary and is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. until dusk. Dog Park memberships are available for an annual fee of $50 for one dog and $20 for each additional dog.

For those interested in Dog Park membership, we strongly recommend attending at least one obedience class before joining the park. All dog owners must participate in a Dog Park orientation, which includes a video on Dog Park etiquette. Each dog must be at least four months old and is also interviewed for basic social conduct.

Remember it is your responsibility to control your dog off-leash. Having your dog spayed or neutered is strongly recommended and no female dogs in heat are permitted in the dog park. Documentation of DHLPP vaccinations, rabies and Bordetella must be provided upon application for membership

Nature Trail
The Paws4ever Nature Trail is now open! The 2 mile primitive trail is a beautiful route through the woods and includes access and views of Toms Creek. Nature Trail memberships are available for an annual fee of $20 for one dog and $5 for each additional dog. Dog Park members may add access to the Nature Trail for an additional $5 per year.

All dogs must be on leash while on the Nature Trail.

Join Today
To schedule an orientation and interview for you and your dog please contact the Paws4ever dog training manager, Julie Jenkins at (919) 241-8438 ext. 102 or

Rental Space

Ready to host your next seminar, training event, agility competition, workshop or specialty show at Paws4ever?

Animal Events
The Learning Center is 8,700 square-feet of climate controlled, comfortable space with three large and fully matted rooms, restrooms, a kitchen, and two large outdoor fields, including one with full competition agility equipment. Gating, obedience jumps and other sports equipment are available for rent as well.

Corporate, Family or Community Events
Our beautiful 50-acre campus and large indoor space has everything you need for your next workshop, gathering or community event. Renters can request AV and sound equipment, tables, chairs and kitchen equipment as well. One small and two large interior rooms as well as a large maintained fenced field appropriate for outdoor events with space for large event tents. A small wooden gazebo is adjacent to the outdoor space.

Renters may use the Paws4ever Nature Trail that surrounds the Paws4ever rental facilities. Paws4ever is conveniently located near Mebane/Burlington and Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Hillsborough. There are many local and franchise restaurants within easy driving distance as well as a variety of lodging options.

For rental availability please contact us at to schedule your next event.

Rental Rates
Full Rental (includes Learning Center & Fields), $600/day, $400/half day, $150/hour
Learning Center (2 or more rooms,includes kitchen), $400/day, $275/half day, $100/hour
Large Training Room (40’x 60’), $165/day, $110/half day, $40/hour
Small Training Room (41’x 44’), $115/day, $75/half day, $30/hour
Agility Room with equipment (32’x 49’), $125/day, $85/half day, $35/hour
Agility Field with equipment (108’x 141’), $220/day, $150/half day, $50/hour
Agility Field without equipment (108’x 141’), $115/day, $75/half day, $30/hour
Training Field (133’x 288’), $115/day, $75/half day, $30/hour
Kitchen (for use with single room/field rental), $50/day, $30/half day, $10/hour

Hourly Rental Punch Card
Purchase 10 hours in advance and get 1 hour free. Advance reservations permitted.

Priority Pass
The priority pass allows individuals use of available rooms and fields throughout the year for no additional charge. Rooms may not be reserved more than 1 day in advance and priority pass may not be purchased for group use.

Indoor/Outdoor Pass, $200/year
Indoor Only Pass, $150/year
Indoor Pass for Class Participants, $40/duration of class

A limited number of camping sites are available for guests attending multi-day events at Paws4ever.

Dry, $20/night
Electric, $30/night


Paws4ever is grateful for the participation and contributions from our generous Annual Partners! Please help Paws4ever thank our Annual Partners by shopping with them and using their services. Contact us to become an annual partner!

  • PLATINUM LEVEL: Creekside Animal Clinic * Morrisville Cat Hospital * Walmart in Hillsborough and Durham
  • GOLD LEVEL: Chapel Hill Restaurant Group * Manage My Dog
  • SILVER LEVEL: Sarah Chestnutt Graphic Design * M&J Dog Essentials
  • BRONZE LEVEL: Koru Naturals * A Better Image Printing * Thomas Kelly Home Repair
  • COPPER LEVEL: Shaun Wilburn, Handyman * Lucky Dogs Daycare and Grooming


    I found a dog or cat. What should I do?

    First, if possible, take the animal to your local veterinary clinic or animal shelter to see if it has a microchip. You may be able to find owner contact information.

    If you have found an animal and believe it is a stray, consider spreading the word via social media to alert your friends that you have an animal available to adopt. You may also use our resource list of local shelters and rescues to find an organization that might be able to take the animal. Click Find Out More below for a resource list.

    I need to give up my pet for adoption.

    If you wish to surrender a previously adopted Paws4ever animal, please contact our Adoption Center Manager by calling (919) 241-8438 x103 or email

    Paws4ever does not accept animals from the general public, as we work directly with our local partner shelters in Caswell, Chatham and Orange counties.

    We encourage you to consider all options before surrendering your pet. There may be resources and/or alternatives that will allow you to keep your pet. Remember, many shelters do not have space and cannot promise that your pet will be adopted.

    If you have reviewed this information and still believe surrendering your pet is the best decision, click Find Out More below to get our resource list of local shelters and rescues who may be able to take your animal.

    I need financial assistance to take care of my pet.

    If you find yourself struggling financially to care for your pet, there are organizations that may be able to help. Click Find Out More below for our resource list.

    I would like to spay/neuter my animal.

    Sterilization of a pet is for their benefit as well as that of the entire community! It allows pets to live healthier lives and reduces unwanted pregnancies.

    The SpayNC Helpline has information about spaying and neutering your pet as well as a map of spay/neuter locations (including low-cost options) across North Carolina.

    If you are looking for support in trapping and spaying a feral cat colony, visit SnapNC or IAR for more information.

    If you have additional questions or would like your organization included on our resource list, please email

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