About Us

Founded in 1967, Animal Welfare Society (AWS) is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit humane society located in Kennebunk, Maine. The organization provides shelter, veterinary care, education and resources to more than 10,000 pets and community members annually.

AWS operates a progressive animal shelter and adoption center on a 40 acre campus in Kennebunk and satellite adoption centers throughout northern New England. AWS’ life-saving community programs include Pets and Survivors to Safety, Paws in Stripes and Paws Across America.  AWS’ services to the greater community include [email protected], Youth Programs, Behavior and Training classes, spay/neuter assistance through the Cleo Fund and veterinary and wellness care at the AWS Community Veterinary Clinic. AWS serves as the animal control impound facility for 21 municipalities in York County, providing safety and shelter to lost and abandoned pets.

Annually, more than 4,000 animals receive care – and find new homes – at AWS. The AWS Community Veterinary Clinic provided wellness services, including surgeries, examinations and vaccinations to nearly 8,500 pets of community members, in addition to AWS resident pets.  [email protected] provides resources to families and pets, including pet food, low-cost or complimentary veterinary care, temporary boarding and supplies, in an effort to keep pets and families together during times of financial hardship or housing insecurity. Additional community programs, such as Humane Education and Canine Training bring education, training and lessons to countless community members of all ages each year. In all, AWS supports the care and wellbeing of more than 13,150 pets – and the people who love them – on an annual basis.

AWS’ operations, adoption center, programs and services are supported by a staff of more than 35 full- and part-time employees and a team of more than 150 dedicated volunteers. Volunteers donate more than 36,000 hours of their time annually in the Adoption Center, in the Veterinary Clinic and in their own homes as foster families.

We are able to fulfill our mission through the generosity of those who contribute through financial gifts, in-kind support 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 is pleased to announce that, in 2020, for the eighth consecutive year, it has been awarded the highest ranking (✭✭✭✭) by CharityNavigator. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates AWS demonstrates strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency while executing its mission with responsible governance and commitment to best practices.

AWS is pleased to announce that in 2022, it is has again achieved the Platinum Seal of Transparency, as designated by Candid (formerly Guidestar), a nonprofit information service. To reach the Platinum level – the highest offered by Candid – AWS has added extensive information to its Nonprofit Profile: basic contact and organizational information; in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, AWS has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate nonprofit performance.