Animal Shelter

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Building closed; services by advance appointment only; staff on site daily.

4500 West Ox Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Karen Diviney, Ph.D.,
Director

Steps to Adopting an Animal

EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 27: Expanded appointment options for in-person visits continues, and appointments to browse all available dogs, cats, or small animals prior to adoption! 

Now that vaccines are more widely available, we are pleased to begin offering increased in-person access to the Animal Shelter! We will not be open for unscheduled walk-in visits, though we are excited to begin offering more in-person visit appointments for potential adopters who wish to meet a specific pet, or who wish to browse available pets of some species. Please note that effective August 9, masks are required to be worn in all County facilities; visitors must wear a mask to enter.

 

Here's how the virtual adoption process works:

  1. New pets will be made available for adoption between 10am-2pm each day, if there are any new pets to make available. All available pets can be viewed on our Petango page. 

  2. Individuals who wish to adopt an available pet should email a completed adoption questionnaire to animalshelter@fairfaxcounty.gov to get in the virtual line for that pet. All who send in a questionnaire will receive a response from Shelter staff. (Please note that we can only accept questionnaires on pets who are officially available for adoption and on our Petango page; we are not able to hold questionnaires on pets still on their stray period or in advance of a pet becoming available for adoption.)

  3. A completed adoption questionnaire is the most convenient way to express your interest in adopting; there is no need to follow up with a call, as our phone lines tend to be very busy! Once your email has been received, please be patient – we reply to all emails, whether your questionnaire is first in the ‘virtual queue’ for a pet or whether the pet has been adopted by someone else.

  4. When a potential adopter’s questionnaire is first in the virtual queue, Shelter staff will reach out via email and phone call to share all the information about the pet, answer questions, provide adoption counseling, and if the pet is likely a good fit and you’re interested in proceeding, we’ll schedule an in-person visit!

 

New! Expanded In-Person Appointment Options:

A cute white and brown dog named Rocco happily looks at the camera.

Dog and Puppy Adoptions:
  1. If there is a specific dog/puppy you are interested in, please list that dog on the adoption questionnaire. An adoption counselor will reach out to share all the info we have on that dog, answer questions, and schedule an in-person visit.
  2. NEW BROWSING VISIT OPTION: If you are unsure which specific dog you’d like to adopt but are sure you want to adopt a dog, you may simply leave that line on the questionnaire blank to be scheduled for an in-person visit to browse all our available dogs!
  3. In-person visits are scheduled within two to three days, once an adoption counselor reaches out to start the process.
  4. If you have a dog at home already, we will facilitate a dog-to-dog introduction to make sure the dogs get along. These will occur in either our large indoor training room, or in the outdoor dog play yards, weather- and dog-dependent.
  5. Visits can last up to 45 minutes, at which point you decide whether you’d like to adopt. If yes, an adoption counselor will work with you to finalize the adoption immediately.

 

 

A gorgeous calico cat stares at the camera, probably waiting for treats.

Cat and Kitten Adoptions:
  1. If there is a specific cat/kitten you are interested in, please list that cat/kitten on the adoption questionnaire. An adoption counselor will reach out to share all the info we have on that cat/kitten, answer questions, and schedule an in-person visit.
  2. BROWSING VISIT OPTION: If you are unsure which specific cat/kitten you’d like to adopt but are sure you want to adopt a cat/kitten, you may simply leave that line on the questionnaire blank to be scheduled for an in-person visit to browse all our available cats/kittens!
  3. Our goal is to schedule in-person visits within two to three days, once an adoption counselor reaches out to start the process.
  4. Visits can last up to 45 minutes, at which point you decide whether you’d like to adopt. If yes, an adoption counselor will work with you to finalize the adoption immediately.

 

 

Two butterscotch and white mice are hanging out together in a purple igloo-shaped house.

Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Mouse, Bird, and Other Small Animal Adoptions:
  1. If there is a specific small animal you are interested in, please list that cat/kitten on the adoption questionnaire. An adoption counselor will reach out to share all the info we have on that cat/kitten, answer questions, and schedule an in-person visit.
  2. BROWSING VISIT OPTION: If you are unsure which specific small animal you’d like to adopt but are sure you want to adopt a small animal, you may simply leave that line on the questionnaire blank to be scheduled for an in-person visit to browse all our available small animals!
  3. Our goal is to schedule in-person visits within two to three days, once an adoption counselor reaches out to start the process.
  4. Visits can last up to 45 minutes, at which point you decide whether you’d like to adopt. If yes, an adoption counselor will work with you to finalize the adoption immediately.

Check out our Petango page for an up-to-the-minute list of all our available pets, including dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and more!

How to Submit a Completed Adoption Questionnaire:

  1. The adoption questionnaires are located: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/adopt/steps/forms
  2. Make sure you save the completed version before emailing it to us!
  3. Completed questionnaires should be emailed to: animalshelter@fairfaxcounty.gov
  4. If these forms give you trouble, please email us and we will send it in a different format.

 

Important Notes: 

  1. Submitting a completed questionnaire does not guarantee adoption. We will be processing questionnaires on a first-come, first-served basis. Some pets will also be on a best fit basis for specific behavioral considerations. Many pets have multiple questionnaires submitted for them.
  2. Adoption counselors will reach out to the potential adopter first in the 'virtual queue' via email and phone. If we do not receive a reply by 10am the following day, we will move on to the next potential adopter.
  3. Our webpage is updated in real time. All the pets on our Petango page are the ones currently available for adoption: www.petango.com/FairfaxCountyAnimalShelter
  4. Under normal operations we conducted same-day adoptions. Our new process takes one to four days from start to finish. Our goal is to complete them quickly, but we understand that things just take longer with the new process, and that is ok.
  5. We will respond to all adoption inquiries as quickly as possible, but please be patient as Shelter staff are juggling many tasks!

 

Adoption Requirements: 

  1. Must be at least 18 years old, with a photo ID.
  2. Provide rabies vaccination certificate(s) for any current dogs and/or cats in the home.
  3. Have dog licenses for any current dogs (if you live in Fairfax County).
  4. Show proof that you’re allowed to have the pet where you live (proof of home ownership, OR lease with pet addendum, OR letter/email from landlord/homeowner).
Fairfax Virtual Assistant