About Us

Why the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters (VAAS) was Formed...

There are very few people in the world who completely understand what it's like to work at an open-access shelter or as an animal control officer. In fact, the only ones who can really understand are your fellow-workers in the animal control/open-access shelter field!

The Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters has been formed by a group of animal welfare professionals who believe that a reasonable, compassionate voice needs to be heard to improve the lives of the thousands of animals we serve each year. We want to ensure that the unique responsibilities of regulated public and private entities, which cannot or do not "pick and choose" the animals they receive, are respected and that these organizations are supported in their efforts to improve their operations compatible with the constraints imposed on them.

For a more detailed history of the animal welfare movement and the need for VAAS, please read our VAAS Case Statement.

Statement of Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters (VAAS) is to enhance animal welfare in the Commonwealth of Virginia through the collective knowledge, experience, professional commitment and sharing of resources of our organizations and agencies. We are dedicated to supporting member shelters on behalf of the animals we serve; to advance the standard of care and level of knowledge within our shelters. We are committed to working together to:
Educate member shelters on behalf of member communities and Virginians state-wide on animal welfare issues and concerns;

Encourage and invite full participation of all Virginians in advancing the policies and solutions that will enhance, serve and protect the interests of all animals in our State.


Facilitate and expand collaborative programming among our member organizations and agencies (i.e. spay/neuter programs; adoption promotions, etc.) to reduce animal homelessness in our State;

Assist fellow Virginia shelters and the animals they serve by increasing placement alternatives of animals within the Commonwealth;

Endeavor to make high-quality training opportunities available and accessible to our shelter colleagues;

Maximize our resources by disseminating policies, procedures and best practices with one another;

Facilitate communications and strengthen positive relationships with all State Agencies involved in animal welfare;

Support and promote legislation that protects animals, reduces cruelty and promotes their welfare. Oppose legislation that will adversely impact those we have pledged to serve and protect.

The Executive Committee

Officers of the Executive Committee

Sharon Q. Adams, MPA
VAAS Chair, Virginia Beach

Paulette Dean
Executive Director, Danville Area Humane Society
Court-appointed humane investigator, Danville and Pittsylvania County
Has served in that capacity for 21 years.

Members of the Executive Committee

Anne Y. Anderson
Executive Director, Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA
Has served in that capacity for over 16 years.

Teresa Dockery
Has worked in animal welfare on local, state, and national levels.
For 20 years, has worked in Virginia legislation.
Founded Spay Virginia and opened 3 high-volume spay/neuter clinic

J. Benny David, Campbell County Animal Control Officer