AVERY COUNTY, N.C. — Ellie Tenge's love for animals runs deep. It began when she was just 6 years old.

"I had to crawl under a crawl space at my neighbor's house to cut some kittens that were born in insulation," Tenge said.


What You Need To Know

Avery County Animal Support was started to help animals in the area 

Avery County has no animal control

The animal support group needs donations, especially during winter


When she cut out those kittens, she knew it was her desire to help as many animals as she could. Her journey brought her back to Avery County, where she soon found out there's no animal control, so she started Avery County Animal Support.

It wasn't long after that she gained support from her now co-founder Emily Jo Turbyfill.

"Injured, neglected or abandoned are our priority, sick animals. Anything that's very urgent. It needs to happen right this minute — we need to assist them," Turbyfill said.

They have helped 152 animals since they began in February. With cold temperatures heading in, they now have another mission as well. They are working to provide shelter to dogs and cats.

"We want to make sure the animal has shelter from wind and rain, so we're going to keep doing it. If you have ever driven up and found a dog frozen to death, you would also be giving them a dog house, too," Tenge said.

They are also providing food to families who need it to help their animals. 

"A fair share of the stuff we get we buy ourselves, because if we can't get it donated and the animals need it, we buy it ourselves," Turbyfill said.

Help starts with a simple Facebook message.

The people and animals most in need find their way to them.

Both women work full-time and do this on their off hours. It's a difficult task, they say, especially with limited donations coming in, but that isn't stopping them.

They have found homes for animals all over the country.

If you would like to help Avery County Animal Support, you can mail donations to PO Box 1313, Newland, NC 28657.

The group has a Facebook page and a wish list on Amazon.