About the Animal Welfare Society

The Animal Welfare Society, incorporated in 1967, is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit humane society. The society was formed in the early 1960s by a group of caring individuals including the late Mrs. Elmina B. Sewall and the late Mr. Donald Shepard.

Today, AWS is an open-admission No Kill* shelter serving York County, Maine. AWS operates an animal shelter and adoption center in West Kennebunk and offers life saving community programs including Pets and Women to Safety, Paws in Stripes, Paws Across America, Humane Education, Behavior and Training classes and the Shelter Spay/Neuter Clinic. AWS is home to the Cleo Fund providing spay/neuter assistance to individuals and feral cat colony advocates statewide, and serves as the animal control impound facility for 21 municipalities in York County.

In 2014 AWS cared for 3,341 cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals in need and achieved a live outcome rate of 97.5%. AWS’ activities are supported by a staff of 38 full and part time employees and more than 350 volunteers providing in excess of 14,000 hours of service annually.

We are able to fulfill our mission through the generosity of those who contribute through donations, pledges and bequests. These funds go directly toward the care of the animals at the shelter and to programs that benefit the people and animals in our communities.

*AWS defines a No Kill shelter as an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals regardless of space or length of stay. As an adoption guarantee organization we reserve euthanasia only for unhealthy animals that are terminally ill and cannot be treated or those with behavior that is dangerous to public safety.