Rusty's Legacy was founded in 2009 when I realized that the two animal rescues in McDowell County were not saving dogs from the County’s high kill animal shelter.  As a small group of animal lovers, we began pulling dogs from the McDowell shelter and holding pet adoption events at the Tractor Supply stores in both Black Mtn. and in Morganton.  Slowly we developed the capacity to pull dogs from high kill shelters from the western region of NC.  We currently pull from McDowell County, Henderson County, Cherokee County, S.C. and Madison County.  At Rusty's Legacy we work hard to develop partnerships with other rescues and with county shelters to pool resources and to save as many at risk dogs as possible.


In addition to saving dogs from high kill shelters we take stray dogs from Burke and McDowell County and do take owner surrenders when taking the dog to the shelter is the only other option.  We try to assist dog owners who are in short term financial difficulty, medical or psychological crisis by allocating one kennel to short term foster for homeless families or for individuals who need inpatient treatment.   We work with dog owners to build their capacity to take care of their animals through referral to social services agencies and/or assist the owners to find appropriate placement of their animals without the dog having to come in to the rescue.


Rusty's Legacy currently rescues and re-homes 500+ dogs and puppies a year.  We partner with Brother Wolf in transporting dogs to the Humane Society of Connecticut.  The rescue does not receive any money for the dogs.  Our participation in the transports enables us to save as many dogs as we can every year.


Rusty's Legacy is all volunteer; no salaries are paid.  As a matter of fact, I work part-time in order to pay the vet bills for the rescue.  We rely on donations to keep the rescue running.  Our adoptions fee is $130 for a spayed/neutered dog, the cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate and heartworm test the dog is $120.  We do not believe that the current economy in McDowell and Burke County would support a higher adoption fee.


Rusty's Legacy is a State licensed animal shelter and is inspected by the N.C. Department of Agriculture several times a year.  We are the only State licensed animal rescue in McDowell County.

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