How do I contact animal control?

Animal Control Officers are dispatched by the local Sheriff’s Office. In Accomack County call 757-787-1131. In Northampton call 757-678-0458. To report a lost or found pet call the Regional Animal Control Facility at 757-787-7091. Accomack has an online form that can be used to report suspected animal abuse or neglect. Click here to open it.

What should I do if I find a stray domestic animal?

Requirements for what to do are found in § 3.2-6551 of the Virginia Code: 1) Notify Animal Control and make reasonable attempts to locate the owner within 48 hours of discovering the animal. 2) If the Animal Control Officer does not impound the animal for quarantine and you choose not to surrender the animal you must provide adequate care for it as if you were the owner and the animal will become yours after 10 days. Violations are subject to a fine of $50 per animal. For information and tips on how to locate an owner, click here.


Do you provide any support for good Samaritans that rescue animals?

Yes. At the very least we can sponsor your rescued animal and provide access to our grant fund. We are here so you don’t have to go it alone. There are a number of valuable resources we offer – too many to mention. In the past there has not been an organization to act as a liaison between Animal Control, established rescue groups, fosters, and good Samaritan animal rescuers. This was one of many reasons Accomack Animal League was founded.

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel compelled to rescue an abandoned or lost animal please follow this basic procedure so we can help you:

1. Contact Animal Control by calling the Sheriff’s dispatch office in your county. This is required by law (see the Q&A above). Also notify the Regional Animal Control Shelter.

2. When you call the animal in, state your intention of rescuing the animal. An Animal Control Officer will contact you and work out if they need to catch the animal for quarantine or if you are clear to go ahead and take care of it.

3. Once you work it out with Animal Control…contact us. We are here to help.

FYI#1: If Animal Control wants to impound the animal in do not panic! The Shelter is very good about finding rescues and rehoming when an owner can’t be found.

FYI#2: Our organization has laws and processes it must follow regarding lost and abandoned animals. We are not allowed to intervene unless Animal Control is first involved in the process.


Does Accomack County have a leash law?

No. Not directly. § 3.2-6539 of the Virginia Code allows the County to adopt a local leash law by referendum, but Accomack County has not done this. There are some towns in the County that have their own leash laws and you should check with the individual town about what rules they have. County Code Chapter 10 prohibits “running at large.” Click here and here to see the specific ordinances.

Running at large and run at large shall be deemed to mean any animal and fowl, including exotic animals, excluding cats, roaming, running or self-hunting off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner’s or custodian’s actual and effective immediate control. Notwithstanding any leash, lead, tether or other device, any dog off of the owner’s property and not under owner’s actual and effective control shall be deemed to be “running at large.” No dog under the control of its owner or handler while such owner or handler is engaged in lawful hunting shall be deemed to be “running at large.” Immediate control shall be deemed to mean the act of directly controlling an animal by leading it on a leash; or controlling the animal, without hesitation, with hand, whistle, electronic, or voice signals.


When is a dog required to display its tag?

In Accomack County dogs are required to display their tags at all times when “running at large” with a few specific exemptions. There is no specific requirement for a dog to display its tag when on its own property or under direct control of the owner. The owner of the dog may remove the collar and license tag required when the dog:

(1) Is engaged in lawful hunting;

(2) Is competing in a dog show;

(3) Has a skin condition that would be exacerbated by the wearing of a collar;

(4) Is confined; or

(5) Is under immediate control of its owner.

FYI: Any dog found “running at large” that does not display a tag will be assumed to be unlicensed and impounded by the Animal Control Officer. If you have an escape artist, it would be a good idea to keep him or her collared at all times because the fine can be as high as $250 if they get out without a collar and tag displayed, plus the cost of boarding.

For information on purchasing a dog license, click here.


What are the signs an animal may have rabies?

There are many symptoms, but these are the most common:

  • Pica
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Hydrophobia (extreme or irrational fear of water)
  • Jaw is dropped
  • Inability to swallow
  • Change in tone of bark or call
  • Muscular lack of coordination/staggering
  • Unusual shyness or aggression
  • Excessive excitability
  • Constant irritability/changes in attitude and behavior
  • Paralysis in the mandible and larynx
  • Excessive salivation (hypersalivation), or frothy saliva
  • Little or no fear of humans and other animals

A normally nocturnal animal seen during the day is only a tell-tale sign and is NOT a primary indicator of rabies.


What should I do if I see an animal that might have rabies?

Do not approach any animal you suspect is infected with rabies. Immediately notify Animal Control. Provide as much information about the: time, location, and details about the animal involved in the incident as you can. If the suspected rabid animal is attacking or advancing toward any humans or domesticated animals, kill it and surrender the carcass to Animal Control to have the deceased animal tested for rabies. If possible, capture the animal under a large box or can, or at least identify it before it runs away. Don’t try to pick the animal up. Call an animal control or law enforcement officer to come get it.

If you or any of your animals are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, call 911 immediately. Don’t panic…but don’t ignore the bite, either. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water. Washing thoroughly will greatly lessen the chance of infection. Give first aid as you would for any wound. Click here to read more about rabies in our area. Click here for rabies information from the Department of Health.

I have a pet that needs a new home. Can you help?

Yes! The more information we have, the faster and easier it will be for us to help place the animal for you. Please provide as much of the following information as you can:

  1. Veterinary records and/or the name of your normal veterinarian.
  2. Does your animal have experience with other animals? How is your animal with other animals?
  3. Does your animal have experience with small children and the elderly? How is your animal with them?
  4. How was your animal kept? Inside? Outside? On a chain? Crated? On a farm?
  5. Is your animal: crate trained, house broken, kennel trained, obedience trained, leash trained, etc.?
  6. What is the breed? Male or female? Spayed or neutered?
  7. Age and history of the animal.
  8. Is your animal up to date on shots, heartworm prevention, etc.?
  9. Are there any aggression issues with your animal, such as with food or toys?
  10. Do you have any current pictures you could share?

To download our cat questionnaire, click here.
To download our dog questionnaire, click here.

We will also need to meet your animal to get a feel for temperament and a rescue that could help.

Once we find a rescue for your animal, an owner surrender form will need to be completed at the time of pickup. That can be downloaded by clicking here.

I have a veterinary emergency and I can’t afford the bill. Are there any organizations that can help me?

Yes. Some veterinary clinics have special funds set up for these situations. In the future, once our trust fund grows to an appropriate level, Accomack Animal League will have a grant program to provide assistance with these difficult circumstances . For now click here to see a list of organizations that may be able to help. The list does not include all the available resources, but it is a good place to start.

I am interested in helping animals. How can I contribute?

There are many ways you can help us help animals. You can donate your time and contribute monetarily. To make the greatest difference consider becoming a member of our organization. Membership is not required to volunteer with us. Membership is required if you wish to work directly with animals or be part of our foster network.

How do I become a member?

Please download and complete our membership package by clicking here. The application can be submitted by mail or in person at any of our meetings.

Accomack Animal League is a community organization working to improve the lives of animals through community outreach, education, and advocacy. We work cooperatively with other humane organizations, local municipalities and the community at large to develop and implement our programs. All operations are funded by donations, fund raisers, and membership fees from like-minded animal lovers. All work is done by volunteers and 100% of the funds taken in go directly back into the community.

We invite you to take advantage of membership. As a member you will be eligible to vote in organizational matters, attend non-public meetings of the Board of Directors, and have a say in the direction of the organization. We will never make any mandates for volunteer hours or minimum attendance of meetings. How much each member wishes to contribute is entirely up to them. With a larger membership pool, we are able to offer more services for animal welfare and give more volunteer opportunities for those who wish to directly assist with our programs.

How do I become an animal foster caregiver for your organization?

In order for you to be officially recognized by our organization as a Foster Caregiver there are some legal requirements that have to be fulfilled and things that must be agreed upon. Membership is required to be a Foster Caregiver with our organization. You will need to go through our screening process for final approval. Click Here to open the animal foster agreement. Once we receive your completed application we will begin the screening. Applications can be submitted by mail or in person at any of our meetings.

What does the foster caregiver screening process involve?

Once your application is reviewed a foster coordinator from AAL will contact you. We have a strict and rigorous process to ensure the safety of all the animals in our foster network.  You will be asked to submit bank statements, proof of income, and other documents. One or more of our representatives will inspect your home on several occasions. A criminal background check will also be conducted. We will leave no stone unturned and nothing unexplored. If successfully screened, you will be added to our official foster caregiver list.

Are there other ways I can help?

Please consider making a donation of goods to the Regional Animal Control and SPCA shelters. We put together a simple picture showing items you can buy for $5 or less to donate to those facilities. Click here to see it.

Please also consider “Animal Friendly” plates for your vehicle if it is registered in the state of Virginia. Revenue from these license plates are shared with the Eastern Shore SPCA by the DMV. For more information about that program click here.

I’ve heard that I can help the SPCA by shopping at Food Lion. How?

You can help support the Eastern Shore SPCA by “linking” your Food Lion MVP card. Every time you shop and purchase “Food Lion” branded products using your MVP card a portion of the amount you spend on qualified items will be automatically credited. All Food Lion stores support this program! Please tell your family, friends, and neighbors who may shop at Food Lion to “sign up.” Signing up is easy. If you find that you need assistance in linking your card, give the SPCA a call at: (757) 787-7385. The Enrollment Process is as follows:

Go to “www.Foodlion.com” Click “MVP Rewards” Click “Register Your MVP Card” (box in lower right corner of page) Click where it says “Register Your MVP Card” to support your favorite school or charity. Enter your 12-digit MVP card number (NOTE: The # is on the back of your card, starts with the small # to the left of the barcode followed by the 10-digits under the barcode and ending with the small # to the right of the barcode) Click “Submit” Enter your “Contact Information” Click “Submit” Go to “Add an Organization to Support” box Enter Code # “252153” Click “Find” Click “Add” Click “Sign-Out” This won’t cost you a dime, and can provide valuable life saving care to so many animals!

I have a special needs animal that requires injections or shots. What should I do with the used needles?

Managing and disposing of household generated sharps properly reduces pollution to the environment and prevents injury and disease transmission from needle-sticks. For more information on proper sharps disposal click here.

I need to have an animal spayed or neutered, but have limited funds. Who can help?

Here are all the organizations we are aware of and there are several options available. Many of these have a waiting list, so please do not wait to call. The Neuter Scooter 2.0 visits regularly at the SPCA. There is also Eastern Shore Spay Organization (ESSO) who regularly hosts PETA SNIP and the VA Beach SPCA and have their own Neuter Scooter. We also have Schuyler at Over the Moon Rescue. All have lost cost options available. The SPCA can be reached at 757-787-7385. ESSO can be reached by calling Sharyl Cline at 757-331-3037. Schuyler at Over the Moon can be reached at 757-442-3366. Eastern Shore Animal Hospital also offers low cost spay/neuter for ferals. They can be reached at 757-656-4125. Our own organization may also be able to help you out with a grant to offset your costs. There is no reason with the resources now available to have a problem with access to spay/neuter for every animal.

How do I qualify for a grant from Accomack Animal League?

We do not have specific requirements for our grants. Each case is examined on an individual basis. We generally restrict our grant funds to situations of dire or extreme circumstances. Ask, and you just may receive.


I have a nuisance wildlife problem. What resources are available to help?

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has a Wildlife Conflict Helpline, a resource for resolving human-wildlife conflicts. The helpline is a collaborative effort between the VDGIF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services (WS) to address human-wildlife interactions by sharing science-based wildlife information. The helpline is available toll-free at (855) 571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday.

Techniques recommended to the public are environmentally sound, safe, and selective and meet wildlife professionals’ standards. Individuals are helped with “do-it-yourself” instructions and are provided with the necessary information and literature, referred to websites when appropriate, or directed to other sources of assistance. In those instances where more specific technical assistance is needed, callers are linked up with subject matter experts.

Additionally, if you need assistance trapping and removing wildlife from your property Accomack Animal League can help you. We loan traps and provide a nuisance wildlife trapping service. For information Click Here.