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Frequently Asked Questions

Animal Import Requirements

  • I am planning to move from Virginia to California. What kind of paperwork do I need to have to take my dog with me?
    Most states require that companion animals coming into their state be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection attesting to the health status of the animal and indicating a current rabies vaccination. As requirements for each state vary, contact with the appropriate animal health official in the state of destination is advised prior to travel.
  • What do I need to bring a horse into Virginia? 
    Virginia's import regulations require that equine entering Virginia have a health certificate and a negative test for equine infectious anemia conducted within the last 12 months.
  • What tests are needed for me to ship dairy cattle to a foreign country? 
    The U. S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for interpretation of the rules and regulations regarding international shipment of animals. As requirements differ from country to country and species to species, contact with the USDA is required. The Virginia Area Veterinarian-in-Charge may be reached at 804.343.2560 or detailed information can be obtained through USDA's toll free voice response system at 800.545.8732.
  • I am moving to Virginia. What paperwork do I need to have to bring my dog and cat with me? 
    Virginia requires that all dogs and cats imported into the state be accompanied by a health certificate with individual identification and the indication that the animal, if over the age of four months, has been vaccinated for rabies (1-year or 3-year vaccine).


Animal Care and Emergency Response

  • A family in my neighborhood is not feeding their dogs and there is not shelter from the weather for them. There is also a farm nearby with a field full of very thin cattle. Who can I call to get help for these animals?
    Your local animal control officers have the authority to investigate complaints of alleged cruelty to or inhumane treatment of companion animals and livestock. Contact your local animal control and report the conditions to them directly, providing as many specific details as possible, and request that they investigate the situation.
  • I want to do more to help animals in my local area, how can I do this?
    Localities are oftentimes appreciative of volunteer assistance from their citizens. Contact your public animal shelter, a nearby SPCA, humane society, or other private group to offer your assistance.
  • What can I do to protect my pets in a disaster situation?

    Please visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s website for information about emergency preparedness for pets and what to include in a pet emergency supply kit.

  • I am an animal control officer in the state of Virginia and am looking for guidance regarding officer training, a local animal issue, or a state reporting requirement. Who can assist me?
    You may contact our office via phone or email for guidance or assistance using the Agency Directory.
  • I am interested in starting my own rescue group/animal shelter, what are the requirements?
    Please contact an attorney to assure you meet all legal requirements. You may also contact the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Services for assistance obtaining non-profit status. If you have a designated shelter building, you will need to be inspected by a representative of the State Veterinarian and approved to operate before you may begin taking custody of animals. You will need to familiarize yourself with the Comprehensive Animal Care Laws.
Click here for additional Division of Animal and Food Industry Services contact information.
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