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, Norfolk SPCA, 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 each other, and each has different policies and programs. There is no national SPCA or humane society. While we are a member of some national and state-wide organizations, we are the shelter serving Virginia Beach and surrounding communities

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 has no 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 all we can about his or her disposition and habits so that we can find a suitable, permanent home. The VBSPCA also performs many other important community services.

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.
  • Transfers from other shelters: The VBSPCA works with a number of shelters across Virginia and surrounding states for animal transfers. Often, shelters who are full and unable to take in animals in their area will reach out to larger shelters like the VBSPCA and request to transfer animals. 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 and wildlife from any city or state, unless they have bitten in the last ten days. Those who 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.

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. However, 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, however over 90% of the animals that come to the VBSPCA are adopted. 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 – 250 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. Spaying and neutering is the only way to reduce the number of animals that are born, many of which end up being animals for whom there are no available homes. Plus, we need people to make life-long commitments to their pets, rather than just turning them in when they become inconvenient.

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 “get acquainted” rooms, 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 baby can come home. It’s a terrific deal financially, plus you’re saving a life!

Why don’t you just give the pets to people?

People often don’t take very good care of things that are free — and it does cost money to look after a pet. Our adoption packages, which include vaccinations and spay/neuter are very affordable. These are services we would not be able to provide if animals were given away. And, if an individual is not interested in adopting an animal unless it is free, there is a low likelihood that they will obtain veterinary services at a later date. If you consider all of the things we provide along with the animal, it is cheaper to adopt an animal from the VBSPCA than to get one for free and pay all of the veterinary expenses yourself.

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 rehabilitation, and numerous animal welfare partnerships, the Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals strives to create a more humane and responsible community. Over 3,500 domestic animals and 2,000 wildlife come through our caring 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 every day.

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?

We must purchase vaccines, medicine, cleaning and office supplies, and pay many of the same bills as any other business — electricity, heating and cooling, water, phone, and insurance. We also have a core staff of paid employees who provide the direct animal care, from sheltering to medical, and we have support staff who help make it possible for us to continue to do the work we do.

Where does your money come from?

The VBSPCA receives very little federal or state funding, less than 1%, and we rely on the public’s generosity for support. We also have many fundraising events throughout the year. When people turn in their pets, we ask them to make a contribution for the animals’ care. Amazingly, only 30 percent do so.

What is visiting paws?

The VBSPCA has been taking pets to local nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, facilities for emotionally disturbed children, and other institutions on a regular basis for many years now. Various community groups and individuals volunteer to help with the visits. It’s really heart-warming to see those lonely people smile when a puppy, kitten, or rabbit is placed in their arms. Our program is not limited to Virginia Beach. All programs are free to the facility.