Frequently Asked Questions

What does VBSPCA stand for?

Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Is the VBSPCA connected with Virginia Beach Animal Control or the ASPCA?

No. The Virginia Beach Animal Control Bureau is a city agency. The VBSPCA is a private, nonprofit charitable organization supported by contributions from the public. In fact, all SPCAs and humane societies are independent from one another, meaning the VBSPCA is not connected to any of the other SPCAs or Humane Societies in Hampton Roads. We all raise our own funds, and we operate with different policies and programs.

Why are there two shelters in Virginia Beach?

Animal Control enforces the city ordinances pertaining to animals while also picking up stray, injured, or deceased animals from the streets. The VBSPCA does not operate animal control trucks, and we do not pick up animals. Seventy percent of the animals at our shelter are turned in by their owners. We provide shots, grooming, medical care as needed, and lots of TLC. When we take in a pet, we find out everything we can can about his or her personality, likes, and dislikes so that we can find a suitable, permanent home. The VBSPCA also performs many other important community services including our public clinic and humane education programs.

How do animals end up at the VBSPCA?

Typically, adoptable companion animals end up at the VBSPCA in one of two ways

  • Owner relinquishments: People who are no longer able to care for a pet for a variety of reasons may choose to relinquish them to the VBSPCA. This is also referred to as an owner surrender. Approximately 34% of animals who find their way to the VBSPCA are surrendered by their owners.
  • Transfers from other shelters: The VBSPCA works with a number of shelters across Hampton Roads and the wider Mid Atlantic region. Shelters that are full and unable to take in animals in their area will reach out to larger shelters like the VBSPCA and request to transfer their animals to us. Approximately 65% of the animals transferred to us are from our local shelter partners, and the remaining 35% are from our regional partners. Rural shelters also request transfer support as it will increase the likelihood of adoption. Additionally, we take in animals from shelters impacted by natural disasters and have received transfers from the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico following devastating hurricanes.
What animals do you accept?

All owner-relinquished animals, unless they have bitten in the last ten days. Animals that have bitten must be taken to Virginia Beach Animal Control. We provide assessments for animals brought to the shelter, and provide counseling along with options if we feel an animal may not be adoptable.

Does the VBSPCA find homes for all of the pets that are turned in?

All healthy and treatable animals are made available for adoption. However, not all animals turned in to the shelter are healthy or treatable or remain healthy and treatable while at the shelter. Animals that are not healthy, not likely to become healthy, have behaviors that are not manageable, or pose a risk to an adopter are not made available for adoption and are either transferred to a rescue partner or humanely euthanized.

Does the VBSPCA euthanize animals?

Yes. Animals are assessed for adoption based on the typical level of care provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners. Animals that are not healthy, not likely to become healthy, have behaviors that are not manageable, do not respond to behavior therapy, or pose a risk to a potential adopter are not made available for adoption. In some cases, a breed specific rescue is an option. In other cases, humane euthanasia is the only option. The VBSPCA does not euthanize for time or space. Even though euthanasia is part of our shelter protocol, we consistently meet a live release rate of over 90% which is a huge success for an animal shelter. The Annual Live Release Rate is calculated by dividing total live outcomes (adoptions, outgoing transfers, and return to owner/guardian) by total outcomes (total live outcomes plus euthanasia not including owner/guardian requested euthanasia or died/lost in shelter/care).

Is the VBSPCA a no-kill shelter? 

No, we do not use that terminology at our shelter. You can read more about our shelter philosophy here. 

How many animals does the VBSPCA house at one time?

We have cage space for between 170 – 300 animals.

Do you frequently run out of space in the shelter?

Yes, however animals are never euthanized based on our available space. We often rely on foster families and adoption promotions when we need to reduce the number of animals we have in-house.

What are your adoption fees?

You can read all of our adoption fees here.

How do I adopt an animal from the VBSPCA?

Come down and visit with our animals, find one you like, spend some time playing in one of our visiting areas, and fill out an adoption application. We’ll check things like whether your family or roommates want an animal, whether your current pets are up to date on their vaccines, and whether your landlord allows you to have pets. This usually takes no more than a day. Plus, we spay or neuter all animals before they leave our shelters, so you may have to wait an extra day or two before your new pet can come home.

Besides sheltering animals, what does the VBSPCA do?

We believe that human compassion is critical to the elimination of animal suffering. Through shelter operations and adoptions, our income based public clinic, educational programs, wildlife triage, and numerous animal welfare partnerships, the VBSPCA strives to create a more humane and responsible community. Over 3,000 homeless pets come through our organization annually, and the VBSPCA relies on the generosity of donors, the collaboration of community partners, and the available resources within the Hampton Roads community to provide care to animals single animal in our care, 365 days of the year.

Do you deal with people who are actually abusing animals?

No, not at this time. Abuse and cruelty concerns should be directed to your municipal animal control agency.

Are VBSPCA expenses very high? Do you need donations of food, or volunteers?

Animal medical care comes to approximately $400,000 annually, which doesn’t include the costs of animal sheltering or basic care.  Plus, we need cleaning supplies, animal transport services, and utilities, which includes many of the same bills as any other business — electricity, heating and cooling, water, phone, and insurance. We also have a core staff of 65 paid employees who provide direct animal care, medical care, and support services to keep the organization operating. All in all, it costs the VBSPCA over $4 million annually to maintain our operations.

Where does your money come from?

The VBSPCA receives very little federal or state funding, less than 1%, so we rely on the public’s generosity for support. 41% of our financial support comes from our fundraising efforts; 50% comes from our clinic, adoption, and program fees; and the rest comes from miscellaneous income including retail sales, investment income, etc.

Have more questions? Reach out to info@vbspca.com
Interested in printing a condensed version of our FAQ’s? Click here.