About Us

Animal Welfare Society (AWS) — a private 501(c)(3) non-profit humane society located in Kennebunk, Maine — 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 Women to Safety, Paws in Stripes and Paws Across America.  AWS’ services to the greater community include Stay@Home, 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 – in the AWS Adoption Center. The AWS Community Veterinary Clinic provides wellness services, including surgeries, examinations and vaccinations to nearly 8,500 pets of community members, in addition to AWS resident pets. The clinic’s opening in 2018 increased AWS’ capacity to provide medical care by 92%, providing low-cost, quality veterinary care to community members and allowing more pets to remain at home with the people who love them. AWS’ community programs – including Humane Education and Canine Training bring education, training and lessons to countless community members of all ages each year.

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 2021, it is has again achieved the Platinum Seal of Transparency, as designated by Guidestar, a nonprofit information service operated by Candid. To reach the Platinum level – the highest offered by Guidestar – 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.