Become a Member

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies invites you to become a member. Membership is per calendar year (January 1 - December 31), however you can join for the current year up to the month of July.

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Why Become a VFHS MEMBER?

The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is working harder than ever on behalf of animals across the Commonwealth and we need your organization to be a part of our efforts. The Federation’s vision is to be the leading advocate for ending unnecessary euthanasia of cats and dogs and advancing animal welfare throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

By becoming a member of the Federation today, your organization can not only take advantage of our many programs that bring important information and resources directly to you, but you will also be joining fellow animal-advocates, rescuers and care givers across Virginia to create a stronger, more cohesive voice for Virginia’s animals.

As we look ahead to 2017, we are excited to share with you some of the new programs we are working on that can have a positive impact on the important work you are doing. Only as a Federation member can you take advantage of these benefits!

Ø    Decreasing euthanasia through a comprehensive Virginia Transport and Transfer Program.

We know that many shelters and rescues throughout VA already work together to get healthy and treatable animals adopted. However, there are still a great number of under-resourced shelters in the Commonwealth with high rates of euthanasia that would benefit from the support of an organized program that matches them with shelters and rescues who can assist.  Thus, VFHS took the lead in creating such a program.  In 2016, we launched the High Five VA website.  High Five Virginia is a program offering 1.) a simple, effective way to market your shelter's top five priority animals to shelters and rescues throughout Virginia via a specially-designed website; and 2.) funding to eliminate barriers to successful transfer.

Ø   Spay-Neuter Assistance Grants

Through the Spay Virginia Project, VFHS continues to work towards its goals of ensuring that affordable, accessible spay/neuter services are available throughout Virginia and that euthanasia of healthy or treatable cats and dogs decreases dramatically. We do this by providing grants to Federation members in varying amounts. In 2016, we provided a total of $19,500 to 29 member organizations.

Ø   Legislative Initiatives and Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

2016 was an incredibly productive year in Richmond for animals.  We believe that 2017 will be just as successful but the participation of VFHS members is vital to continuing the success. VFHS will be on the ground providing information and will continue to make our member’s voices heard to our lawmakers in Richmond to forward more humane laws in Virginia.

VFHS is also working alongside Humane Dominion, Virginia’s first Political Action Committee for Animals which advocates for more humane laws in Virginia. In 2016, we introduced a vital Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit and Assistance Program to VFHS members, which will continue to assist local animal organizations and advocates in bringing lasting change for animals in their counties and cities providing simple yet effective steps for engaging in legislation at the state level.

This program offers a step-by-step “how-to” making it easier for local animal lovers to engage in county and city-based efforts to implement laws around tethering, pet stores, puppy mills, pet limits and more. So much of Virginia’s progress for animals takes root at the local levels.

As a VFHS member, you are truly helping to make Virginia a more humane place for animals by strengthening our collective voice. Your participation in the legislative process is needed now more than ever.

Ø   Targeted Outreach & Assistance Program 

Specific outlying areas of Virginia suffer greatly from overcrowded shelters, fewer rescue partners, and fewer affordable vetting and spay/neuter options.  Their distance from the assistance and resources available in the more urban hubs compounds the challenges for these regions.

As part of another exciting 2015-16 Federation initiative, funded in part by a generous legacy gift given to VFHS in 2014, our goal was to launch a new pilot program aimed at identifying and addressing the many barriers to decreasing needless euthanasia in specific areas of Virginia.  The program included outreach to shelters, rescues, veterinarians, and individual animal advocates to identify needs and barriers. We then work to put in place opportunities to address these barriers and create and cultivate long-term, sustainable solutions.

Ø   Annual Conference and Ongoing Networking Opportunities

The VFHS annual conference in 2017 is set for March 30- April 1 in Charlottesville, VA. We are bringing together top animal leaders from Virginia and beyond to share information and insight on topics including social media for shelters, TNR, health trends, behavioral modification and much more. New this year are specific sessions geared towards increased networking and collaboration with your fellow VFHS members so that information sharing, partnerships and networking can continue beyond the three-day conference.

As we hope you see, there are so many reasons to be a part of VFHS now and in the future. We truly believe that membership will continue to provide the benefits our members have grown to expect and, when coupled with the new initiatives to be launched in 2017, will make your work as animal caregivers and advocates even more effective.

The Federation has two membership categories:

  • Active 

    All non-profit animal welfare organizations, animal control agencies and organizations, and Releasing Agencies operating in the Commonwealth of Virginia are eligible to be Active Members. 

    To become an Active Member, the organization must submit an application for Active Membership to the Federation.  In consideration of the organization’s application or as a condition of continuing Active Membership, the Board, in its sole discretion, may request copies of the organization’s organizational and governing documents, adoption contracts, and other documentation, and if the organization operates an Animal Pound or Animal Shelter, the Board may require an on-site visit of the organization’s Facility by a Member or Director.  The Board shall determine whether to accept the organization as an Active Member as a group, or by delegation of authority to a sub-group or committee of the Board. 

    Active Members shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws pertaining to the care and treatment of animals, including but not limited to those laws governing cruelty, neglect, confinement, disposition, care, sterilization, and Facility operations.

    Active Members may participate in Federation programs and serve on Federation committees, and shall have voting privileges as set forth in Article III.  Each Active Member shall designate a delegate to attend Active Member meetings on its behalf, or designate a proxy to vote on their behalf.  If an Active Member fails to send a delegate or name a proxy, the President of the Federation shall serve as the Active Member’s de facto proxy.

  • Supporting 

    Organizations and agencies that are eligible for Active Membership are not eligible to be Supporting Members.  Any individual, group, organization, or business that is not eligible for Active Membership and that is interested in promoting and/or supporting the objectives of the Federation is eligible to become a Supporting Member. 

    To become a Supporting member, the applicant must submit an application for Supporting Membership to the Federation.  The Board shall determine whether to accept the applicant as a group, or by delegation of authority to a sub-group or committee of the Board.  Supporting members shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws pertaining to care and treatment of animals, including but not limited to those laws governing cruelty, neglect, confinement, disposition, care, sterilization, and Facility operations. 

    Supporting Members may participate in Federation programs and serve on Federation committees, but shall have no voting privileges.

All Members enjoy benefits including discounts on the cost of registration for the Annual Conference and other educational programs, and access to members-only networking opportunities including member message forums on the VFHS website. Members also receive regular updates on animal welfare legislative issues and have a voice in the issues that VFHS promotes.

Additional membership benefits are available to Active Members only and are listed below.  If you have any questions, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS AND DUES

ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP

Annual dues are $75 for Active Member organizations.  You may download an application here. 

Membership Application

In addition to the other benefits described above, Active Members receive one free copy of the current edition of the annual Law Book.  Active Members may post job listings on the VFHS website at no cost, and individuals within Active Member organizations may apply for scholarships from the VFHS Scholarship Fund.

Active Members making an initial application may also be asked to supply:

  • a copy of their current Bylaws;
  • a copy of their articles of incorporation and charter;
  • a copy of the IRS letter of determination showing non-profit status;
  • if the organization is a foster-based group, a copy of the adoption agreement.

Each Active Member organization shall elect or appoint a delegate from the organization to represent the organization at the Membership Meetings held by VFHS. 

SUPPORTING MEMBERSHIP

Annual dues are $30 for Supporting Members.  You may download an application here.

Membership Application

Supporting Members may participate in Federation programs and serve on Federation committees, but shall have no voting privileges.

ADDITIONAL MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA

All VFHS Members shall support the principle that animals shall be placed in good homes and will actively strive to make such placements for all animals in the organization’s care. No animal shall be adopted, sold or given away for research or experimentation or for any other purpose than as: (1) a pet; (2) a service animal for the physically challenged; or (3) a search and rescue or police animal. Animals in the care of the VFHS Members shall be provided the elements of care required by the Code of Virginia, and each animal in the member's care shall be provided the necessities to achieve the highest quality of life possible. No animal that cannot be placed in a home due to safety or health issues or that simply fails to be adopted over a prolonged period of time should be subjected to suffering from physical or psychological distress due to prolonged confinement. VFHS Members that operate shelters or foster homes shall comply with all laws governing confinement, disposition, care, mandatory sterilization, and, when applicable, regulations pertaining to the operation of a pound.