Find Virginia animal shelters, puppy dog and cat shelters, pet adoption centers, dog pounds, and humane societies. Animal shelters provide information on adopting dogs, cats, and pets, animal care and rescue, and animal control.
Animal Shelters provide temporary housing and care for stray, unwanted, and owner-relinquished animals. A wide range of additional services may also be offered at an Animal Shelter. These services are determined by how the Animal Shelter is organized and funded.
Many Animal Shelters are owned and managed by private, non-profit organizations whose mission is to provide for animal welfare. Promoting animal adoption is usually a central component of these shelters' operations. These shelters frequently offer educational programs on pet ownership, spay and neuter services, and preventive health services such as vaccinations in order to support their efforts to find permanent homes for animals. Animal Shelters may charge fees for adoption and other services, but most also rely on grants and private donations to support their operations.
Animal Shelters may also be operated as part of a county or local government animal control agency. These shelters may offer many or all of the services commonly found at private, non-profit shelters. However, these shelters also undertake a range of activities related to animal control enforcement, including impounding stray animals, investigating animal cruelty, enforcing licensing laws, and rescuing trapped animals. Animals housed by animal control agencies are usually made available for adoption unless they are determined to be too aggressive, injured, or sick. Animals available for adoption through an animal control agency may be held for a set period of time in order to give owners an opportunity to claim and retrieve a pet or to allow time to complete an investigation. Animal control agencies may charge fees for their services as well as issue fines for violations of animal-related laws.
Many Animal Shelters are public-private partnerships, where an animal control agency contracts with a private entity to manage and operate a shelter.
Most states license Animal Shelters and have requirements for minimum kennel size, outdoor space, and other physical features of shelters. Regulations may also address operational issues, such as minimum exercise and outdoor time requirements for animals, disease prevention procedures, and the general care of animals.