The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies was organized in 1959 by Pearl Rainwater Twyne, a woman of great vision and purpose. Born in Missouri, she moved to the Washington D.C. area in the 1920’s to work for the Department of Agriculture. Mrs. Twyne helped to found the Arlington Animal Welfare League in 1944 and served as its president until 1967. She was also involved in establishing the Humane Society of Fairfax County and the American Horse Protection Association. She was a former regional chapter president for Defenders of Wildlife and served on a presidential panel appointed to study the status of wild horses. Her testimony before Congress contributed to the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1970.
Mrs. Twyne’s experience with animal welfare organizations in the northern Virginia area inspired her to establish a statewide organization to serve as an umbrella for animal-related agencies to work together toward common goals. Initially involving the northern Virginia and Tidewater areas, the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies expanded to encompass most areas of the Commonwealth.
The general objectives that were developed at the time of the Federation’s organization in 1959 are just as valid today as they were then – providing leadership and support for organizations around Virginia so that together the care and protection of animals will be improved. VFHS has been and continues to be a leader in the animal welfare movement in Virginia.