New program at Norfolk animal shelter helps keep pets and their families together

Generic pet with family, family pet, pets
Posted at 10:13 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 22:13:50-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A local animal shelter is offering a new program to help Norfolk pets and their families stay together.

The Safety NACC fostering program at the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center (NACC) provides temporary homes for pets whose owners are facing hardship. Pets of qualified program participants will be placed in a home with a short-term foster parent for 30 days with a possibility to reapply. Norfolk residents can enroll up to two animals in the program.

“As a Norfolk native, I’m always happy when we can offer a new resource to our community,” said Dog Foster Coordinator Madison Witherite. “There is such a need for this program in our area, and I’m excited to see just how big an impact it will have on local families.”

NACC is participating in a Maddie's Fund (a nationwide animal welfare foundation) research study with Arizona State University and Virginia Tech on safety net foster programs.

Safety net fostering is the fostering of owned animals whose families are experiencing a temporary inability to provide them care. This may be related but not limited to financial instability, domestic violence, incarceration or hospitalization. The study will be used to help animal shelters better serve the need for temporary housing of owned animals in the community.

As COVID-19 eviction moratoriums are lifted around the country, safety net fostering programs may provide needed support to keep people and their pets together.

This program expands the level of service and resources NACC can offer and provide to the community and will also help recruit and grow its foster program. The shelter is actively recruiting fosters to offer temporary housing to animals in need.

“This is a vital program for keeping animals and their humans together,” said Bryce Strech, Cat Foster Coordinator. “We’re always glad to offer a helping hand to our community members in need.”

For information on how to enroll in the program or to become a foster, contact NACC at 757-441-5505 or email