Animal Shelter

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Building closed; services by advance appointment only; staff on site 9am-5pm daily.

4500 West Ox Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Karen Diviney, Ph.D.,

Steps to Adopting an Animal

Our virtual adoption process is working great, and has allowed us to continue our adoption program while keeping the health of our staff and the community in mind!


Here's how the virtual adoption process works:

  1. New pets will be made available for adoption between 10am-2pm each day, if we have 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 to get in the virtual line for that pet. We are setting up visits in the order that questionnaires are received. Adoption questionnaires for dogs, cats, and small animals are each available on this page, below. (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 in advance of a pet being ready to adopt.)

  3. A completed questionnaire submitted via email is the most convenient way to express your interest in adopting; there is no need to follow up with a call. Once your email has been received, please be patient as we work to reply!

  4. Shelter staff will communicate with potential adopters via email and/or phone call to share all the info we know about the pet and ask some questions about what the adopter is looking for in a new pet. 

  5. Shelter staff will work with the potential adopter to determine if the pet is a good fit or not, and give a reasonable timeframe for potential adopters to decide. It is possible that a pet will not be a good fit based on the pet’s individual behaviors and needs, and we appreciate the understanding that our adoption process will need to be a little different than it usually is! We will do our best to suggest potential alternatives in the event the first selection doesn’t work out.

  6. We are able to facilitate an in-person visit for most adult cats and dogs, as determined by Shelter staff, prior to adoption finalization. These will be facilitated by Shelter staff at the shelter with social distancing and no-contact, utilizing our outdoor dog pens or our large indoor training room (for dogs), or in the cat adoption area (for cats). For kittens and small animals, no in-person visit will be permitted.

  7. If a potential adopter has a dog at home already, please note that most shelter dogs will have a requirement for a dog-to-dog introduction. These will be facilitated by Shelter staff at the shelter with social distancing and no-contact, utilizing our outdoor dog pens (for dogs) or the indoor training room (for inclement weather, or as appropriate).

  8. Once adoption paperwork is finalized, Shelter staff will arrange the no-contact pickup to occur within two days, based on the Shelter’s schedule and the adopter’s schedule.

  9. Please note that our adoption process generally takes 1-4 days from start to finish, and we work to schedule in-person visits with pets within 2-3 days of receiving a completed questionnaire. Our in-person visits are scheduled seven days a week.


Our adoption questionnaires are located at the link below. Please make sure you save the completed version before sending it in!

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!

Important Notes

  1. Submitting a completed questionnaire does not guarantee adoption. We will be processing questionnaires on a first-come first-served basis, and expect that some pets will have multiple questionnaires submitted. Adoption requirements and fees remain the same, and can be found on our webpage:
  2. We strongly prefer adoption fee payment by credit card so it can be taken over the phone. We will accept cash or check, if needed.
  3. If we don’t receive a reply from potential adopters within 24 hours of the last communication, we will move on to the next potential adopter who has submitted a questionnaire.
  4. Our webpage is updated in real time. All the pets on our Petango page are the ones currently available for adoption. Once a pet has an adoption in progress or has been adopted, they will no longer be listed.
  5. Under normal circumstances we are able to do same-day adoptions, but this new process often takes one to three days from start to finish. We will respond to 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 current photo ID
  2. Bring rabies vaccination certificate(s) for any current dogs and/or cats in the home
  3. Have licenses for currently-owned 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/home owner)

Spay/Neuter Policy Changes

  1. While under normal circumstances every dog, cat, and rabbit would be spayed/neutered before adoption (as required by law), we will be halting elective surgeries including spay/neuter to help veterinary clinics preserve PPE and supplies for emergency services.
  2. This is consistent with guidelines and policies from many national animal welfare organizations, veterinary universities, and other regional shelters and rescues.
  3. We will provide adopters of unaltered dogs, cats, and rabbits with a voucher for spay/neuter and will follow up to ensure it happens. The spay/neuter surgeries for adopted pets will take place at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, and staff will begin scheduling surgeries as soon as we are able. If an adopter chooses to get their new pet spayed/neutered at a vet of their choice, it will be at their own expense.
Fairfax Virtual Assistant