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:

  • Laura Griest
    Executive Director
  • Theresa Byrne
    Adoption Center Manager
  • Julie Jenkins
    Training Manager
  • Kathryn Ruggeri
    Operations Manager
  • Katy McClure
    Volunteer Program Manager
  • Enda Byrne
    Adoption Center Staff
  • David Kelley
    Adoption Center Staff
  • Dustin Pummill-Kimble
    Adoption Center Staff
  • Barbara Duffy
    Fundraising Associate
  • Judi Torres
    ReSale Store
  • Leigh Matthews
    Public Relations and Development Manager

2013 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 Melissa Bennett.

  • Melissa Bennett, President
  • John Wise, Treasurer
  • Perry Dowd, Secretary
  • Keller Kaufman-Fox, Asst. Secretary
  • Laura Griest, ex officio
  • Ann Petersen
  • Kendall Page
  • Linda Clark
  • Jaye Kreller
  • Lisa Fedele
  • Rob Dusablon
  • Jill Mccullough

Dog Park & Nature Trail

General Information

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.

To maintain a safe park environment, all dogs must be people- and dog-friendly and be at least four months old. 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 is also interviewed for basic social conduct. To schedule an orientation and interview for you and your dog please contact the Paws4ever dog training manager, Julie Jenkins at (919) 304-2300 ext. 233 or

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.

The Nature Trail is currently under construction and will be open in late fall 2014. Check back for updates!

Rental Space

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

Our impressive indoor Learning Center is 8,700 square-feet of climate controlled, comfortable space for people and animals. Featuring three fully matted rooms, restrooms, a kitchen and two large outdoor fields: with one featuring full competition agility equipment.

We frequently host seminars, workshops, trials and specialty shows for both large and small groups. Renters can request AV equipment, ring gating, tables and competition obedience jumps. For rental availability please contact Training Manager Julie Jenkins at to schedule your next event.

Our Daily Rental Rates
Indoor Learning Center & Agility Fields with Equipment – $500
Indoor Learning Center – $375
Agility Field with Equipment – $200


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


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