Adopt a Pet From Virginia Beach Animal Care & Adoption Center

We have MANY animals for adoption on any given day! We accept Virginia Beach resident surrenders as well as stray animals found in Virginia Beach. Stray animals that are impounded at the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center (VBACAC) are held for a minimum of 5 days commencing on the first day after impoundment. Animals with a collar, microchip, or a known owner are held for 10 days. These animals become property of VBACAC after this holding period expires and become eligible for adoption once they are medically and behaviorally cleared. Not all animals that enter the shelter will be adoption candidates, so following the below guide will assist you with your adoption desires.

Something to remember – Adopting a pet is a full-time responsibility as well as a financial commitment. Make sure that you as well as every member of your family is ready, willing, and able to take on the obligations associated with pet ownership, give careful thought to the kind of pet that would be best suited for your home and then come and visit our shelter.

Adoption Requirements:

A successful adoption is deemed to be a good match between adopter and animal with the intention of providing a quality life-long home. It is the policy of Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center to consider known characteristics and animal history and communicate all information to the prospective adopter to maximize the welfare, safety, and compatibility of the animal, the adopters, and the general public. All applicable laws and regulations shall be adhered to.

A list of potential adopters will not be taken for any adoptable animal; however, it shall be the responsibility of shelter staff to ensure that every precaution is taken to prevent the euthanasia of a legally available animal that has an interested person considering adoption.

Persons interested in adopting a specific animal that is legally available for adoption will submit an adoption questionnaire to shelter staff to initiate the adoption process. Questionnaires will be received on a first-come, first-served basis and potential adopters will have the first right to adopt once all requirements of the adoption process are met. The Animal Care and Adoption Center (ACAC) reserves the right to deny the adoption of an animal into a home based on the needs of the animal compared to the expressed capabilities/intentions/home environment of the interested party (for example denial of placement of animal into a home where the animal has lived inside previously and the interested party, through the adoption process, has indicated animal will reside exclusively outdoors). Denial of a specific animal, based on its individual needs, shall not equate to a denial of adoption in general. If all other adoption criteria are met for adoption eligibility, staff will suggest an appropriate animal/adopter fit based on animal need and adopter capability and/or environment.

The Virginia Beach Animal Care & Adoption Center reserves the right to consider known patterns of behavior that are incongruent with lifelong pet ownership practices when determining adoption eligibility. In such cases, a shelter operations supervisor and/or shelter manager will review the circumstance and determine whether reliable and verifiable information exists to support the adoption would put the animal at unnecessary risk of harm. The findings will be screened with the Commanding Officer of the Animal Services Bureau who will decide whether to refuse adoption to an individual or household based on the information available.

Adoption Screening Criteria will be based on objective criteria and such criteria shall be published for public view. Such criteria shall include:

A. Valid ID/License, Provide verification of current Residence location (lease, bills, etc.)

B. ADOPTERS shall have no convictions of animal cruelty, failure to provide duties of ownership of animals/failure to provide adequate care, domestic violence related offenses, violent crime convictions, conditions of moral turpitude, history of protective order(s), or history of violent/aggressive behavior. Should the adopter indicate on the application that a conviction exists this will be an automatic disqualifier for adoption.

1.   For persons who indicate that no conviction exists, shelter staff will conduct a check via the Court website of the locality in which the interested adopter resides.
2. Should the potential adopter reside in a locality that does not post online public records, shelter staff will conduct the search utilizing the City of Virginia Beach court website.
3. Convictions will be verified via public court website.

C. Adopters who indicate that they possess more than 4 adult dogs at the time of adoption shall provide notice of a zoning variance for a kennel license.

D. Additional questions shall be asked on the application for the purpose of identifying areas of discussion/education between shelter staff and/or volunteers and adopters.

Adoption Procedures:

All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Care and Adoption Center shall be provided vaccinations prior to adoption. Canines will receive a Heartworm test prior to surgery. Felines will receive a Feline Leukemia/FIV test prior to surgery.

All corresponding medical/vaccination paperwork shall be provided to the new owner upon adoption. All dogs and cats adopted will receive a microchip implant prior to possession from the adopter. Shelter staff will advise adopter how to register a microchip if a microchip was implanted prior to the shelter stay. Staff will register chips that ACAC implant as part of the adoption process.

All dogs and cats adopted from the Animal Care and Adoption Center shall be sterilized prior to possession of the animal by the adopter. Exceptions will be based on medical concerns, age/size of the animal at the time of adoption, shelter capacity, and surgery schedule. In such cases, the animal shall be sterilized by the date set by shelter staff and agreed to by contract by the adopter. (Cases should be extremely minimal) In such cases, the adopter shall be provided an adoption contract for unsterilized animals with the date the animal is to be sterilized.

At the time of adoption, the counselor will:

A. Review medical history with the adopter.

1. Vaccination/medical records
2. Prevention history and importance of monthly flea and heartworm prevention
3. Illness/Injury History
4. Surgical History
5. If any information found in the medical is unknown to the counselor or needs assistance explaining to adoption – they will contact vet staff.
6. If an animal is heartworm positive, Shelter staff will provide treatment information and scheduling for required vet care follow-up

B. Review animal behavior notes with adopter.

1. Intake History
2. Behavior History Contact behavior staff if animal is noted to require additional counseling, or if assistance is needed to explain behavior history.
a) Bite history must be disclosed if applicable, and a disclosure form provided.
b) Contact behavior staff if the animal is noted to require additional counseling, or if assistance is needed to clearly explain behavior history.

After Adoption

  • Upon adoption and within 10 days the animal must be taken to a licensed veterinarian for a thorough examination.
  • If an animal is found to be ill and the new owner wishes to return it they may, with written proof of illness from the veterinarian.

Adoption Fees:

Adoption Fees $1

We have reduced adoption fees to $1, for all animals. This is a research-backed, proven strategy to get more animals into stable, forever homes.

Why it works:

More Informed Adopting! Adopters can benefit from low-cost adoptions without the time restraints and pressure of an "adoption event" deal. Adopters can make the move toward adopting when it's right for their family, when they have had time to research, prepare, and make plans for bringing home a new pet.

More Money ≠ Better People! There's no correlation between low-cost adoption fees, animal quality of life, or integrity of adopters. We know this is a worry for many, but the research doesn't show this a reality. Here's some info on this:

Less Obstacles = More adoptions = Less Animals in the Shelter! Our adoption application process and screening hasn't changed - just the fee. By greatly reducing the upfront cost of a shelter animal, adopters can focus those funds on things like vetting, supplies, food, training, etc. + The more animals adopted, the less animals in the shelter. Win/Win/Win!

Of course, if $1 is too little in your book, we'd gladly accept a monetary donation along with your adoption to help support shelter operations and the care of animals residing in the shelter. Learn more about that, here:

The bottom line is - animals are priceless. Whether the adoption fee is $1 or $1k, it would never be enough. Our mission continues to be connecting animals in need with loving, forever homes. Hope to see you in 2024!

Before You Adopt, You Should Know...

The Virginia Beach Animal Care & Adoption Center handles approximately 6000 animals annually. Many of the animals that arrive are strays with no health or behavior history. For this reason, the Virginia Beach Animal Care & Adoption Center, the Virginia Beach Police Department or the City of Virginia Beach cannot offer any form of guarantee as to the health or temperament of the animal being adopted. We will make every reasonable effort to ascertain the overall health and behavior of the animals we have available for adoption to the public, however the ultimate responsibility for choosing the right pet lies with the pet adopter.

If you adopt an animal from our shelter and if for any reason the pet is not suitable, contact us during operating hours to schedule a surrender appointment.

Due to the high volume of animals that arrive at the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center, we do our best to keep our listings updated with pets currently available in our shelter. In some cases a pet listed might have been adopted or reclaimed by its owner earlier in the day or they might not be listed yet. Please stop by to visit us and work with our staff and volunteers to assist you finding a new best friend.

VBACAC Adoption Forms:

Cat Application
Dog Application
Small Companion Animal