Animal Shelter

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: open Tues-Fri 12-7pm, and Sat-Sun 10am-5pm; closed Mondays

4500 West Ox Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Karen Diviney, Ph.D.,
Director

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the shelter, there's a good chance the answer is on this page!

Tuesday-Friday - 12 noon to 7pm

Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 5pm

Monday - closed

We do not define ourselves as "kill" or "no kill." The term "no kill" means different things to everyone, and it's confusing. We are Fairfax County’s only publicly-funded, open access, municipal shelter. We take in stray animals in need, owner-surrendered companion animals when the owner is no longer willing or able to care for them, and animals who have been seized or taken into custody by Animal Protection Police. We accept all companion animals from Fairfax County who are in need of care, regardless of health, age, temperament, or history. We do not euthanize for space or length of time, and all adoptable animals are given every opportunity for a new home and family. We only euthanize for two reasons: 1) severe medical issues that cannot be treated, rehabilitated, or managed, or 2) if an animal is not safe to place in the community due to offensive aggression issues.

We have an incredibly compassionate staff, vibrant and active volunteer and foster programs, we work with many area rescues, and we support an active TNR program to address community cats. Every animal who enters our shelter will be given the best care and shown boundless love while they are in our care, and while they wait for their forever family to adopt them. We are very proud that our positive release rate has been over 90% since 2013!

Yes, dog licenses can be purchased at the animal shelter or from the Department of Tax Administration at the Fairfax County Government Center. All dogs over the age of four months residing in Fairfax County are required to be licensed. The cost of each license is $10, and they must be renewed at the beginning of each new calendar year. In order to purchase a dog license, a valid rabies certificate must be provided. A dog is required to wear this license tag whenever he or she is off the owner’s property. Cats do not require licenses in Fairfax County but need to be kept up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.

Unfortunately we do not offer veterinary services (spay/neuter, vaccinations, other surgeries, etc) for owned pets. We do offer low-cost rabies vaccination clinics! For the schedule of clinics and locations, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/communityassistance/rabiesclinics. We have also put together a list of other pet resources, which may be helpful: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/petresources.

There are options! You may bring the dog to the shelter during open hours. You may call Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131 to come pick up the dog, especially if it's before or after shelter open hours. Or you may hold on to the dog yourself, but you MUST file a found report: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/lostandfoundpets/filereport

We accept owner-surrendered pets from Fairfax County residents. (If you reside in another county, please check with your county's animal shelter.) We now do surrenders by appointment, which is great! For more information on how to make an appointment to surrender your pet, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/surrenderingyourpet

Pets are surrendered for all kinds of reasons. Most often what it boils down to is that folks just can't care for their pet any longer. Sometimes it's allergies, or the arrival of a new baby, or combining households, or moving, or some behavior that the person is finding difficult to manage, or increased expenses due to a medical or age-related thing with the pet. We are glad that folks trust us enough to surrender their pet into our care, and we make sure to try and get a lot of information about their pet's behavior and medical history, so we can find the pet a great new home!

There is no time limit on how long available pets stay with us, and we know that sometimes it takes time (weeks, months!) for a pet to be adopted.

You can view them online anytime: https://www.petango.com/FairfaxCountyAnimalShelter. That webpage is updated in real time, so as soon as a pet becomes available for adoption they'll show up, and as soon as they're adopted they'll disappear! You can also visit the shelter during our open hours and see available pets in person!

Yep, you sure can! Our adoption process, requirements, and fees are the same for everyone: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/adopt

You can usually always find dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs available for adoption here at the shelter. We sometimes have other pets, too, like: rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, parakeets, cockatiels, parrots of various sizes, ferrets, snakes, geckos, bearded dragons, and farm animal pets like ducks, chickens, roosters, pigs, and goats!

We are not able to put holds on pets, and adoptions are done on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the adoption process, including requirements and fees, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/adopt

At this time we do not have a foster-to-adopt program.

We can never guarantee that any of our pets are hypoallergenic or non-allergenic, so we will never advertise or claim any pet to be either of those things.

Unfortunately no, we don't keep lists like this. Just keep an eye on our available pets webpage (here: https://www.petango.com/FairfaxCountyAnimalShelter), and as soon as you see a pet you'd like to adopt, come on in!

Because it's impossible to determine breed based solely on appearance, and breed doesn't determine behavior - all dogs are individuals!

We do not require kittens to be adopted in pairs. (We do think it's great for kittens to have a feline friend, though, whether that means you have a cat/kitten at home already or maybe you do adopt two!) We sometimes have bonded pairs of pets who must be adopted together, but their kennels will be clearly marked.

You must be 18 years old to volunteer at the shelter. For tons of information on our volunteer program, including how to apply, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/volunteer

If you are looking for short-term, court ordered, or youth volunteering opportunities, you can find those types of opportunities through Volunteer Fairfax or with the Fairfax County Government. Please note that the Shelter is unable to accommodate these types of volunteer opportunities.

For a full list of all the items we love getting as donations, and those items that we are unable to accept, visit: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/donate

Fairfax Virtual Assistant