Founded in 1966 by Liz Sill and B Lovitt, the Virginia Beach SPCA has been serving the Hampton Roads community for over 50 years. The VBSPCA has received awards and recognition for its Junior Volunteer program, as well as the Virginia Literacy Award for the Listening Ears program. Additional accolades include the American Humane Association’s Excellence Award in the areas of Facilities and Staff, Operating Programs, Community Relations, and Euthanasia. In 2018, the Virginia Beach SPCA has become a certified service enterprise from Points of Light and was also honored with Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Giving Back Award for being an outstanding nonprofit.
The Virginia Beach SPCA opened its first physical shelter in 1969 on Farm Road at the intersection of General Booth Boulevard and Oceana Boulevard. During its first year of operation, the Virginia Beach SPCA shelter cared for more than 5,000 animals. By the early 1970s the Virginia Beach SPCA had expanded its reach to include Wildlife and a spay/neuter clinic. Over the next decade the spay/neuter clinic grew to become a full-service low-income veterinary clinic. A Humane Education center was added in 1978 with a focus on fostering compassion and empathy in children.
The Virginia Beach SPCA’s Doris Malbon Taylor shelter on Holland Road opened in 1989. A focus on furthering community involvement led to increased impact in the Tidewater Area and beyond. During this time, the VBSPCA coordinated the development and enactment of Virginia’s first felony animal cruelty legislation, which was signed into effect in 1999. It was also during this decade that the Virginia Beach SPCA’s Humane Education program began to reach younger students through its Early Discoveries program, which would later become the Compassion Classroom program. The Wildlife program also began hosting community forums on ways to humanely handle urban and suburban wildlife conflicts.
Throughout the 21st century, the Virginia Beach SPCA has continued to further its reach. A mobile Neuter Scooter was purchased in 2007 and now provides affordable spay/neuter and vaccine services through the seven cities, Williamsburg, and the Eastern Shore. In 2010, Second Chance Thrift opened its doors with a portion of all proceeds benefiting the Virginia Beach SPCA. In 2015, the Virginia Beach SPCA Pet Supplies & Adoption Center opened, offering a full line of humane retail products and a reduced stress shelter environment for adoptable animals. Since opening, The Pet Supplies & Adoption Center allowed the Virginia Beach SPCA to find homes for an additional 700 animals each year until closing in September of 2019. Through the Humane Society of the United States’ Sister Shelter program, the Virginia Beach SPCA has worked to provide guidance to shelters in Puerto Rico and continues to support other regional shelters through animal transfers.
The most recent expansion of the VBSPCA mission welcomed pet training into the shelter. What started as a community initiative to keep pets in homes eventually led the VBSPCA to launch its very own Pet Academy in early 2019. With onsite shelter training to assist resident animals combined with public classes to support the needs of the community, the mission of the VBSPCA continues to strengthen its impact and expand its reach.