Norfolk Animal Care Center to provide support through new coordinated entry and resource guide

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Image: Norfolk Animal Care Center

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center announced on Wednesday it has implemented a new program to improve how it takes in animals to better serve the community’s needs.

The new program is called “Coordinated Entry,” as it will provide additional support and resources, including a resource guide to help pet owners who need assistance.

The program will help owners keep pets at home will also assist pet owners who need to find a new home for a companion animal.

The adoption center says “coordinated” means that before accepting an owner’s request to surrender a pet, staff at NACC will first seek to understand why and will ask pet owners to consider helpful resources to keep their pet, or to find it a new home on their own.

“We know from long experience that the shelter, no matter how welcoming and comfortable we make it, is a stressful environment for companion animals. If an animal can remain in a home environment it should,” the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center wrote in a press release.

“Entry” means that NACC will continue to provide a safe haven for animals in need, particularly those with emergency medical needs, those at risk or that pose public safety concerns, and those in exigent circumstances.

Any animals surrendered for other reasons will enter the shelter by appointment and staff counseling will be offered.

“We want to provide the best care and support possible to both animals and pet owners in Norfolk,” said NACC Bureau Manager Michelle Dosson. “That means we must do all we can to ensure animals remain in our community, in the settings that are most appropriate. We want to solve problems and help with what most owners want – what’s best for their pets.”

Staff at NACC created a comprehensive resource guide for pet help ranging from discounted vaccinations and veterinary care, to behavior training, to pet-friendly housing to deployment fostering.

NACC has shared the guide with partners at the Norfolk Police Department’s Animal Protection Unit to ensure the information is available immediately.

During the first 30 days of the new program, 31 families were assisted by NACC in the re-homing process. In addition, 16 animals, or 52 percent, were able to either gain resources or re-home on their own with NACC support.

Coordinated Entry will offer the following benefits to NACC staff animals in care:

  • Allow staff to better plan for and manage space within the shelter
  • Allow staff to prepare for incoming animals
  • Place priority on the animals most in need: those with medical emergencies and those who pose public safety concerns

NACC tested coordinated entry during operations changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and will now implement it full time as a best practice demonstrated at other shelters around the country.

NACC will continue to keep statistics and information on the animals in our shelter and those who ask for help and will coordinate with other local animal shelters to ensure that any animal or pet owner who needs help gets it.

To contact the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center staff call 757-441-5505 or email

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