Anyone seriously involved in the animal welfare world has an opinion on SPCA’s and Humane Societies as a whole. This is especially true for smaller rescues and shelters that have no money and real resources to save lives. But, every once in a while something associated with one of these large organizations seems to offer a positive step in working together.
In Virginia there is one such example, and they began their work in 1959. The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is a membership organization consisting of pounds and other animal shelters, humane societies, rescue groups, sanctuaries, animal control agencies, as well as animal caregivers and individual supporters across Virginia, but its reach extends far beyond to the public and their needs as well.
Their purpose and goals are diverse and includes offering support to all shelters and other animal welfare organizations in Virginia through grant funds for spay/neuter programs, shelter outreach, mentoring and educational programs. As well, they have taken the responsibility to try to unite Virginia’s humane organizations, rescue groups, veterinarians and animal care and control agencies in working towards a commitment to end the euthanasia of healthy or treatable dogs and cats in Virginia. Not an easy task, but a great plan, and their other accomplishments for the welfare world have been worthy as well some may say.
In October of 2001 the Spay Virginia program was implemented with the focus on spaying and neutering of animals belonging to low-income pet owners, those adopted from animal shelters, and those belonging to people who are unlikely to have them spayed and neutered. With generous donations, grants and fundraising efforts on the part of animal welfare organizations, VFHS has since overseen the opening of three regional spay/neuter clinics in Virginia.
And because educating the public is such an important aspect of animal welfare, it has also launched a toll-free hotline (1-877-9VA-SPAY) as part of the Spay Virginia program. This convenient resource allows individuals to find low-cost spay/neuter options in their communities. It also serves another purpose in allowing VFHS and its members to identify the areas of Virginia where more assistance is needed so that new programs can be implemented.
If these attempts to work together and offer support for groups and individuals sounds like something that you would like to be a part of, perhaps you can look past the bad feelings and attend their annual conference, or a local regional meeting. You never know who you will meet and what good things can happen for you and the animals.