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Spay Virginia

Working together, we can end pet overpopulation in Virginia

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What is SpayVA?

Spay Virginia is a project of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.  Our goal is to work with shelters, local governments, rescue groups and private veterinarians to provide pet owners and caregivers in Virginia with access to convenient and affordable spay/neuter services. By spaying or neutering your pet, you may be giving your pet the gift of a healthier and happier life AND you will be preventing unwanted and unplanned litters of puppies and kittens from being added to the hundreds of dogs and cats already in Virginia shelters.


What is Spaying/Neutering? 

Spaying or neutering is also called “sterilization,” and sometimes is referred to as “fixing” your pet. When a female dog or cat is spayed, her uterus and ovaries are removed. When a male dog or cat is neutered, his testicles are removed. Both procedures are done under general anesthesia. Your pet may need to stay at the veterinarian’s office overnight, or may be able to come home the same day.


Spaying and neutering are routine and permanent procedures that reduce unwanted behavior in your pets and reduce or eliminate the risk of certain often fatal diseases – which makes both you and your pet happier.


Spaying or neutering your pet will also ensure that your pet does not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem by producing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens.


Spaying/Neutering Is Good For Your Pet!

Did you know that pets that are spayed or neutered live longer on average than pets that are not?

Spaying and neutering may help cats and dogs live longer and healthier lives and can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health and behavior problems. Spaying your female pet eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of mammary gland tumors.  It is not true that your female cat or dog will benefit from having one litter before she is spayed!  In fact, spaying her before her first heat will reduce the risk of certain diseases. Spaying your male pet eliminates the possibility of testicular and prostate cancers. Most cats and dogs are able to reproduce by 6 months of age.  Many veterinarians will spay or neuter an animal as young as two months of age, but as with any surgery, you should consult with your veterinarian to see if your puppy or kitten is old enough and healthy enough to be spayed or neutered.


Spaying/Neutering Your Pet Is Good For You!

Did you know that spaying or neutering your pet may stop unwanted behavior?

Sadly, some owners feel that they have no option but to surrender their pets to shelters because they simply cannot handle some unwanted behaviors.  Yet spaying or neutering your pet can reduce or eliminate these behaviors, making both you and your pet happier. 
Your spayed female dog or cat will no longer go through heat cycles.  Female dogs in heat may be more likely to show aggression to other females.  Female cats in heat will typically “yowl” and urinate frequently. Neutering your male pet will reduce the breeding instinct and the behavior that goes along with it – spraying or marking territory with urine, aggressive behavior, and the drive to escape from your home and roam. 


Spaying/Neutering Is Good For The Community

Did you know that millions of cats and dogs are euthanized each year in shelters?

Shelters across the country are forced to euthanize many adoptable dogs, cats, and other companion animals each year.  Many of these animals were the result of unwanted and unplanned litters, or dogs or cats that seemed “cute” as puppies and kittens but were no longer wanted as they grew into adults.  Many of these are even purebred animals.


By spaying or neutering your pet, you are doing your part to bring an end to the pet overpopulation problem.  Your pet will not have unplanned puppies or kittens that end up in a shelter – and that means that the animals already waiting for homes will have that much more of a chance to find one.


Spay Virginia Wants to Help!

Spaying or neutering your pet is good for both you and your pet, and the cost of surgery should not be an obstacle.  There are many low cost spay/neuter options across Virginia.  Please search our website or email us at and let us help you find one.

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History of Spay Virginia


Spay Virginia, launched in October of 2001, is a statewide project of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.  The project has brought together private and municipal shelters, rescue groups, local governments, and veterinarians to establish regional spay/neuter programs that address the problem of cat and dog overpopulation.  The primary focus of the project is to spay and neuter animals of low-income pet owners, those adopted from animal shelters, and those belonging to people who are unlikely to have them spayed and neutered.


Working with Spay Virginia, each region can assess its needs, identify existing services and resources and develop a plan tailored to the specific needs of that region.  By implementing this statewide project, the need to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals is being reduced and, hopefully, will be eliminated. Creating an umbrella for the groups in each region ensures that continuity is established across the state and the needs, programs, and results can be monitored in a more precise and efficient manner. Also, existing outreach programs can be strengthened and new ones established.


What are some examples of regional programs?

To date, the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies (VFHS) has overseen the establishment of three regional spay/neuter clinics in the Commonwealth of Virginia, each based on the Humane Alliance model.  While originally operating under the Federation’s umbrella, each clinic has become its own independently operating 501(c) (3) entity.


In January of 2005, the first two clinics opened in Bristol and Harrisonburg.  In Bristol, the Margaret B. Mitchell Spay/Neuter Clinic serves the Southwest Virginia/East Tennessee region, including the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise, the cities of Bristol and Norton, as well as the City of Bristol and County of Sullivan in Tennessee.  The start-up of this clinic was funded by a donation from the estate of Margaret B. Mitchell, the founder of the Bristol Humane Society.


In Harrisonburg, the Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic serves a region including the counties of Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page, Clarke, Frederick, Augusta, Rockbridge, Culpeper, Louisa and Warren and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton and Winchester.  This clinic’s start-up was funded through fundraising efforts by regional animal welfare organizations as well as a generous grant from the Bosack & Kruger Foundation.


In November of 2006, a third clinic opened.  The South Central Spay/Neuter Clinic, located in Lynchburg, offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for cats and dogs in the Central Virginia region.  This clinic was made possible by the determination and generosity of the local animal welfare organizations, private citizens and businesses in the region. It primarily serves the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, Halifax and Pittsylvania and the cities of Bedford, Danville and Lynchburg but, like the other two clinics, it will not turn anyone away because of residence.


What are the next steps for Spay Virginia?

In addition to its successful role in the opening and operation of three high volume spay/neuter clinics, VFHS has made other efforts to improve the availability of spay/neuter surgeries in Virginia.  Through its Spay Virginia project, it has administered spay/neuter funds, awarding grants to local humane societies and other organizations so that those groups could provide more services to their communities.


In 2009, Spay Virginia began its work with Spay/USA, a program of North Shore Animal League America.  As part of the Spay/USA network, VFHS continues to accumulate information on spay/neuter options in Virginia and provide that information to the public on the Spay Virginia website.  Through these efforts, Spay Virginia will assist individuals in finding convenient, low-cost spay/neuter options in their communities. 


Additionally, this information will allow VFHS and its members to more easily identify the areas of Virginia where more assistance is needed and to provide support in the development of further spay/neuter programs, including the recruitment of veterinarians to be part of the statewide network.


Through the Spay Virginia project, VFHS will continue 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.  It is the vision of VFHS to be the leading advocate for ending unnecessary euthanasia of cats and dogs and advancing animal welfare throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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