About Us

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies (VFHS) is a membership organization founded in 1959. Our membership includes pounds and other animal shelters, humane societies, rescue groups, sanctuaries, and animal control agencies, as well as animal caregivers and individual supporters across Virginia. Primary among our goals is to address the issues of animal cruelty and pet overpopulation within the Commonwealth of Virginia and to foster humane attitudes through education.

VFHS provides support to all shelters and other animal welfare organizations in Virginia through grant funds for spay/neuter programs, shelter outreach, mentoring and educational programs. Each year, VFHS presents a multi-day conference featuring local and national speakers on a variety of subjects, with many of the workshops offering continuing education credit for animal control officers. VFHS communicates important news, events and information to its membership that supports their work in animal welfare.

 

VIRGINIA FEDERATION OF HUMANE SOCIETIES

POSITION STATEMENTS

 

HUMANE INVESTIGATOR PROGRAM

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports the Humane Investigator Program and endorses its application throughout the Commonwealth. VFHS believes that Humane Investigators can be an invaluable tool in ending animal suffering and embraces a program that supports and works in partnership with Animal Control professionals.  

TETHERING

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is committed to ending tethering of companion animals as the primary means of confinement. VFHS does not believe that tethering an animal briefly (no more than 30 minutes) constitutes cruelty so long as it is not so excessive as to reasonably appear to be the primary means of confinement.

When developing a tethering ordinance, the following tools are suggested. 1) a menu of restrictions which can be included in the ordinance, 2) model tethering ordinance from Danville, VA and, 3) model tethering ordinance from Richmond, VA.

TETHERING MODEL LANGUAGE   

TAX CREDITS FOR ADOPTERS OF ANIMALS FROM SHELTERS AND RESCUES

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports tax credits for approved adopters of animals from pounds, shelters and other releasing agencies. VFHS believes that strategic policies which encourage the adoption of homeless animals and, therefore, reduces the costs for sheltering animals, represents a savings not only in dollars but also in the lives spared of those animals who might otherwise be euthanized. 

TAX CREDIT FOR VETERINARIANS WHO PROVIDE SERVICES TO RESCUES & SHELTERS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies endorses tax credits for Veterinarians and other professionals who provide services to pounds, shelters and other releasing agencies. VFHS believes that service providers who donate their services are contributing exponential value in reducing reproduction and suffering of companion animals.

BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies endorses breed neutrality and opposes breed specific legislation. Scientific data has refuted media-driven hysteria maligning certain breeds of dogs and VFHS is proud to join the Virginia Animal Control Association, the National Animal Control Association and the National Federation of Humane Societies in reversing breed-discriminatory policies wherever they exist.

MODEL STANDARDS OF CARE

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports model standards of care in the Commonwealth. VFHS supports policies which would elevate Virginia as the recognized leader in standards of care for the provision of food, water, shelter, medical treatment, exercise, and recreation to companion animals. 

SPAY/NEUTER BEFORE RELEASE FROM A SHELTER OR RESCUE GROUP

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports policies which require that animals be spayed/neutered before being released from a shelter or rescue group unless medically ill-advised. VFHS also supports increased funding and services for shelters and rescue groups so that adoption fees do not become prohibitive because of the added cost of altering adopted animals. VFHS believes that comprehensive spaying and neutering of animals is essential in reducing the surplus of companion animals and the associated costs.

INCREASED FUNDING FOR ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports increased funding for Animal Control Officers. VFHS also supports a culture of professionalism for all Animal Control Officers where superior performance standards and measurements are the norm. VFHS believes that Animal Control Officers are the first line of defense in protecting homeless animals throughout the Commonwealth and supports policies which acknowledge their unique contribution and provide increased funding for the services they provide and their training.

INCREASED TRAINING FOR ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports increased training for Animal Control Officers. VFHS believes that superbly trained Animal Control Officers are essential to creating a humane community for animals and their caregivers. 

LEO STATUS FOR ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports Law Enforcement Status for Animal Control Officers. VFHS acknowledges the risks Animal Control Officers confront in the provision of their day-to-day duties and believe that such sacrifice and service is worthy of the protection provided by Law Enforcement Status.

STRICT PENALTIES FOR ANIMAL ABUSERS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports significant penalties for those who commit crimes against animals and endorses comprehensive enforcement of laws that protect animals. VFHS embraces the irrefutable scientific data that animal abusers ultimately go on to abuse humans. VFHS believes that penalizing animal abusers to the full extent of the law ultimately means fewer crimes against similarly helpless people. 

INCREASED FUNDING FOR SPAY/NEUTER

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports increased funding for spay/neuter. The single largest obstacle to ending the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals is ending over-population. VFHS believes that tax-payer dollars spent on spay/neuter will result in millions saved on sheltering and too often euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals.

REDUCING OVERPOPULATION OF DOGS & CATS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is committed to developing and supporting policies which reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats. VFHS is also committed to engaging other stakeholders, including responsible breeders, in the development of such policies. 

 REDUCING UNPLANNED BREEDING OF DOGS CATS  

RESPONSIBLE CARE OF HUNTING DOGS

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is committed to developing and supporting policies that promote the responsible care of hunting dogs. VFHS is also committed to engaging other stakeholders, including responsible hunters, in the development of such policies.  

BAN ON WILDLIFE PENNING

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports a ban on wildlife penning, deems it a barbaric and uncivilized practice and encourages significant penalties for those who engage in it.  

HUMANE EDUCATION

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports Humane Education in schools. VFHS believes that Humane Education is essential to creating a safer and more humane future for companion animals and their caregivers in the Commonwealth.  

TRAP/NEUTER/RETURN

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies endorses Trap/Neuter/Return as the best practice for managing feral cats. Data demonstrates that the less progressive approach of trapping and killing feral cats is ineffective. VFHS also believes trapping and killing is profoundly inhumane. VFHS will actively promote TNR and partner with member organizations on TNR programs to save the lives of feral cats, with the result that TNR is the standard policy for feral cats in Virginia, that feral cats brought to shelters are neutered and returned to their last known location, and that practitioners of TNR are not faced with punitive results or restrictions.  

EARMARKING ANIMAL LICENSING FEES FOR ANIMAL WELFARE

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies believes that locally collected animal licensing fees should not go into the General Fund but go directly to animal welfare organizations which provide services to the community’s homeless animals. VFHS fears that licensing fees which go into a General Fund will not be used for animal services; furthermore, the Federation believes that citizens will be more likely to license their animals when they understand that their licensing dollars will go towards the care of homeless animals.  

Revised May 2013