We just finished the 10th year of the VAAS regional workshops.  That is 60 workhops, over 200 presentations, giving away 750 VA law books, traveling thousands of miles, meeting and hugging hundreds of wonderful shelter personnel and ACOs and sharing thousands and thousands of bits of information that helps promote and improve animal welfare across the Commonwealth. 

So many thank you's and here are a few.  Thanks to the ongoing generous support of VDACS staff in supporting and presenting at each and every workshop...yes all 60!  We are especially grateful this year to Dr. Jodi Collins and Dr. Bruce Bowman who were terrific! Kudos to the 5 Commonwealth Attorneys and the 6 Equine Veterinarians who gave up their time to both prepare and offer great information in Harrisonburg, Ashland, Chesapeake Wytheville, Danville and Loudon.  They were so informative and so approachable.  Kudos to Kathy Strouse, retired long time Superintendent of Chesapeake Animal Services, who managed the on-line registrations AND presented the legislative overview at 4 of the workshops AND identified our C/A, Equine Vet and Bob Merhige who developed the Service and Emotional Support Animal module.  Thanks to Anne Anderson, retired director of Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA for many years, who helped set up two of the workshops and did some of the copying for workbooks AND RHSPCA who provided lunch in Harrisonburg. Jeff Parker, chief ACO of Hanover, found us the C/A, offered his location AND has come on to the VAAS board.  Big Shout-out to Teresa Dockery who organized the Wytheville speakers and, along with Jena Ready, helped prepare the other 1/2 of workbooks and the Margaret Mitchel Spay/Neuter Clinic provided lunch. As always, we are in debt to Paulette Dean, Ex. Dir of Danville Humane Society and our inimitable VAAS Secretary for proving lunch (which was delicious!) location and donated all the law books for our attendees.  Thanks to Sharon Sockman of Chesapeake Animal Services for providing our location.  Big Thanks to Chris Brosan, Chief ACO for Loudon, for coordinating our location(s) and agreeing to help with legistlation next year.  Last but not least, thanks to another new VAAS board member, Jenn Toussaint, Chief ACO of Arlington for her help in developing our survey, deveoping and presenting material for the Service/Emotional Support Animals and generally being a great help!

Whew, on to the next challenge.  Will be back to talk about the Equine Resource Team, Dangerous Dog statute review and other issues.  In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful blossoming trees all across the Commonwealth.  Be kind. Sharon



These workshops are situated so that animal welfare personnel can travel easily, do not require overnight expenses, charge no registration fees and are provided with a free Virginia law book.  

AND:The State Veterinarian attends and presents at all 6 workshops.  

AND: Attendees receive 8 Continuing Education Units approved by VDACS

AND: Topics to include: Euthanasia protocol; Recordkeeping requirements; Equine care and cruelty concerns; Media communication in a Crisis; How to perform a shelter behavior assessment; as well as a Legislative update and Roundtable discussion. 

AND: They are located in your home regions- 
                Henrico-4/4   Harrisonburg-4/7       Chesapeake-4/11       No. VA (Manassas)-4/13     Danville-4/18       Wytheville-4/19

AND:  Your locality or organization can afford it.

AND:  It is a great place to talk with your colleagues, forge regional partnerships and solve local problems
RSVP to Anne Anderson at

June 10, 2015

Happy Summer!

We finished our six regional workshops a little later this year due to a sad health problem with our original presenter.  As always, we learned as much from our attendees and we did from our presenters.  I come away from each of the workshops more impressed every year by your compassion, your wisdom and your commitment.  While animal welfare has gotten more contentious and combative over the years, you all remain true to your chosen profession and to the actual welfare of animals.  Thank you for attending the workshops and for your input.  

There is a lot going on at the state level and we will be updating you through the google group in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, please share your experience with your computerized record keeping system with your colleagues on the group.  Some of our attendees are not computerized and have very limited budgets and limited staff.  They would like to begin to use electronic record-keeping but they cannot afford to make a mistake.  They would all appreciate your input.

On another note, it is so important that you make your elected officials at the state and local level familiar with your fine work.  I know it is frustrating and even a little intimidating to reach out to them but they don't understand what you do unless you tell them.  If you don't, they will only be influenced by those without your experience and knowledge.  An invitation to visit your shelter with a presentation by Animal Control can be so enlightening and can build a respectful partnership.  Summer may be too busy but try to plan something for the fall.  If VAAS board members can assist in any way, just let us know.

Finally, VAAS Board members were asked to provide two shelter evaluations on specific topics.  We enjoyed meeting the staff and completed the evaluations in one day.  If you have any interest in this opportunity, again just let me know.

Best Regards, Sharon Q. Adams, (757) 409-2267


The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is reviewing the current shelter regulations and those of you who actually run and administer shelters need to weigh in.....others are.  We have sent you an email outlining this process but if you are confused or want to talk about this in anyway, please call Sharon Adams at (757) 409-2267 or any of the Board members.  We want, need and respect your point of view but we have to know what it is in order to support it.  Please don't let this opportunity slip by.  We know how busy you are doing all the good work you do, but this is important too.

Also, the Comprehensive Animal Care Laws work group met on October 1st  and once again is reviewing proposals related to roaming at large cats in Virginia.  I am going to forward the proposal to all of you so that you will be fully informed.  It is quite long and a little complicated, at least it was for me, but Paulette Dean and I, (who serve on the work group) will be happy to talk with you about it.   Stay tuned for the email and feel free to give us a call.

Best Regards for the Fall and thanks for all you do.  Sharon Quillen Adams


Welcome to a very hot summer where animals are coming into shelters at a rapid pace.  If you can help your local shelter by fostering unweaned kittens, or helping walk dogs or clean the shelter or supporting spay/neuter programs, please do.  You will be a lifesaver.

We had such a wonderful experience at the six regional workshops we held in April-almost 200 registrants plus a wildlife biologist and Conservation Police Officer at each of the meetings.   Dr. Dan Kovich was a presenter at all of the workshops and he was particularly helpful in talking with attendees about specific issues in their region.  He also presented a Cat Questionnaire to the participants and we will offer our summary of the responses in a later update.  We also asked our participants to tell us what they thought about spay/neuter services across the state.  This questionnaire was extremely insightful and we will use it in our discussion with legislators in the upcoming General Assembly session.  We will share some of our findings in the Fall and hope to hear from more of you regarding what kinds of help would be useful to your region in expanding spay/neuter services.

Finally, we launched the concept of The Virginia Partnership, a state wide network to transfer animals within Virginia between shelters.  A fuller description of this proposal will be forthcoming once we finish our discussion with some national groups on this subject.   Many, many thanks to the ASPCA and to HSUS who underwrote a portion of the costs of these workshops.  We continue to offer them free of charge to the participants so that all open admission personnel can attend, no matter what the resouce obstacles are in their locality.   These workshops cost around $5,000 to present and we are so grateful to our donors.  The very best part is the opportunity to meet and talk with our colleagues across the state who care for the vast majority of animals in need of shelter and who serve their communities day in and day out.  They don't duck their obligations, they put their heads down and work every day to serve the animals in their localities.  I can't wait for next year's workshops and to see old friends.

Sharon Quillen Adams, MPA   Chair, Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters (VAAS)

Euthanasia Protocol (Revised April 2013)

Pre Anesthesia Approach

Bill Tracking

Who's My Legislator

How a Bill Becomes Law

Virginia Comprehensive Animal Laws