Animal Control

Northampton County Code of Ordinances pertaining to animals

Please visit  Northampton County Code of Ordinances  Chapter 95 for a complete list of regarding laws for animals and pets in Northampton County. 



Stray Animals - What to Do

You can file a report directly with the Eastern Shore Regional Animal Control Facility at 757-787-7091.  If you are requesting an animal pick-up, contact your local sheriff department who can dispatch an Animal Control Officer.

Northampton County Sheriff's Office

Northampton County 757-678-0458, Accomack County 757-787-1131



Cat and Dog Photo credit:


If you have lost an animal, call the Animal Control Facility at 757-787-7091 and provide a description and the last known location of your animal.
If you find an animal, you should report it immediately to the Animal Control division so that the owner can be located promptly. In some cases, those that find/report lost animals may hold onto them if they desire until an owner is located.

The Eastern Shore Animal Control Facility is located at:
28167 Beacon Rd
Melfa, VA 23410  

The SPCA will also record a report but it must first be filed with Animal Control.

Shore SPCA Homepage

Lost Paws on Facebook is also a good resource for lost and found pets.

 Animal Cruelty is a Felony in Virginia

Animal cruelty can now be charged as a felony in Virginia.

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill which ups the penalty for abusing an animal to a Class 6 felony. That could mean from one to five years in prison for the perpetrator and a fine of up to $2500.

Under new laws which comes into effect July 1, 2019 anyone who 'tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain' can be found guilty of a Class-6 felony.

Other organizations working to improve the lives of Eastern Shore animals include:

Eastern Shore Spay Organization
It is the mission of Eastern Shore Spay Org to provide low cost/no cost spay and neutering for the cats and dogs on the Eastern Shore of VA. To educate residents on how to manage stray/feral colonies and on the importance of early spay/neuter for the health of the cat/dog.
The ESSO coordinates with the PETA SNIP van to provide appointments for low cost spay and neutering of cats and dogs.

PETA gives special rates to the Eastern Shore to help people with low income. Cats are $30+15 for rabies. Dogs $50+15. Pits are free. Donations are seriously appreciated. They rely on donations and contributions to continue to bring the PETA van to the Eastern Shore with discounted rates. Please help reduce the cat population and keep  dogs healthy with spay/neuter services.
Tax deductible donations should be mailed to:
PO Box 414
Cape Charles, VA 23310

For a list of upcoming mobile spay/neuter clinics please visit the ESSO Facebook page or call:  757-331-2087

Dogs Deserve Better-Eastern Shore Va. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer rescue dedicated to providing a better life for abused, neglected, and abandoned dogs.

K-9 Rescue of the Eastern Shore
, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) all breed dog rescue organization.
Mission Statement: The prevention of cruelty to animals, beginning with, but not limited to, the rescue and care of abandoned, neglected, abused, sick and injured animals; vaccination and sterilization, when appropriate of such animals; securing suitable homes for such animals; educating the general public; assisting animals by means of community outreach including but not limited to providing provisions for an improved quality of life.

United Poultry Concerns 
UPC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit their website.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405


Animal Contact:


Image via Creative Commons

For more information about rabies prevention and control and what to do if you've been bitten, visit the VDH-Eastern Shore Health District website.

"Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It kills almost any mammal or human that gets sick from it. The rabies virus is mainly in the saliva and brain of rabid animals. It can be transmitted through a bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in a wound or in the eye or mouth."
- from Virginia Department of Health Environmental Epidemiology 

If you see an animal that you believe may be rabid, call the Sherrif's Office at  (757) 678-0458 to request an Animal Control Officer and report the location of the animal. Do not try to touch or capture the animal because it may attempt to bite you. Animals with rabies usually show some type of behavioral change. They can be aggressive and excited or depressed and lethargic. They may be uncoordinated and unfocused on the presence of humans around them.

In Northampton County, the most common types of wildlife which may carry the rabies virus are raccoons, foxes and bats. These animals, which normally avoid humans, are nocturnal. Although it is unusual for them to be active during daylight hours, all of these animals are active during daylight hours at certain times of the year. If you see a raccoon, fox, bat, or other wildlife during daylight hours and it appears to be sick or is aggressive toward other animals or humans, move to a safe location and call immediately. The law requires that your dog or cat be vaccinated against rabies.


Bee Swarms


 If you find a swarm of bees, please don't exterminate them. Call a beekeeper!

Bees swarming

Click here for a list of Beekeepers to call if you see a swarm.

Beekeepers Guild of the Eastern Shore website.

drawing of beekeeper at hive
Image credit via creative commons



"Watching wildlife on the Eastern Shore is to experience some of the best wildlife habitat on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States."
-from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

You'll Love Our Nature! You'll Love Our NatureWildlife is an important part of our pristine, natural surroundings. Eastern Shore residents and visitors alike delight in sightings of wild animals and birds. In fact, each fall birding and wildlife enthusiast converge on Virginia's Eastern Shore to view the fall migration as millions of songbirds, butterflies and thousands of raptors stopover for food to fuel up for their long journey south.

For tips on co-existing with wildlife, please visit the Eastern Shore
Wildlife and Habitat at the Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge located at the tip of the Delmarva peninsula or The Nature Conservancy's Brownsville Preserve located at 11332 Brownsville Road
Nassawadox, VA 23413.
For more information about bird watching on the Eastern Shore, please visit the Birding Eastern Shore website.

If you should come across an injured wild animal, please contact an Animal Control Officer at 757-678-0458 or contact the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources helpline at 1-855-571-9003. 

Locate a wildlife rehabilitator

Shore Wildlife Rehab is a non profit facility for wildlife. They work with Eastern Shore Animal Hospital to ensure every animal is raised and healed for release.
They are located at:
16091 Pungoteague Rd
Painter, Virginia
Call (757) 709-1840

Guide for baby wildlife and if they need help
(from Shore Wildlife Rehab)  

* Baby crying alarmed or sounds weak
* The baby stays in the same place alone for over an hour(sometimes this is normal and would be longer for baby fawns)
* The baby is injured or covered in insects of some kind
* The eyes are still closed and the baby is out of its den or nest
* The baby is cold or looks very thin
* The baby is in a dangerous place (in water, near a road, etc. )
* The mother is dead or moved or relocated
This is not a fool proof list of whether a baby needs help. If you can, please call first if in doubt before taking home a baby. AND, yes, the mother will still take a baby back in most cases after it has been touched by humans.

Image via creative commons

"Fawns are born with very little odor as protection from predators. They also have an instinct to freeze when presented with danger. The doe spends as little time as possible with her babies. She may nurse only 5-10 minutes at a time the first few weeks. Thus the babies are hopefully safe from other animals and stay close to where she leaves them, possibly wandering only a few feet before laying down after she leaves. When she returns, she makes a low guttural sound to call the babies close to where she last left them. They respond with a gentle mew or an alarm cry if frightened. Again, human scent does not deter a mother from returning to her young, but it may make them more susceptible to predator animals, such as dogs."

-excerpt taken from Shore Wildlife Rehab


Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

Dark Dolphin
Photo image via

"The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Stranding Response Program is responsible for rendering aid to all marine mammals and sea turtles that come ashore in Virginia. Whether sick, injured, dead, or entrapped and unable to return to their natural habitats, the Stranding Program works to examine these animals and provide the most humane course of action given the situation.

Since the program's inception, over 20 years ago, the Stranding Response team has responded to thousands of stranded marine mammals and sea turtles."

Baby Loggerhead turtles

To report a stranded marine mammal or sea turtle, please call the 24 hour Stranding Hotline at (757) 385-7575.

Observer Guidelines

Seeing a marine mammal or sea turtle is one of the greatest experiences a person can have, but we encourage you to have safe interactions with these wild animals.  For a few quick guidelines, see below:

On the Water:
Do not get closer than 50 yards to sea turtles, dolphins, whales (500 yards for right whales) or seals.
Never surround or circle animals.

On the Beach:
Whales, dolphins, porpoises, and manatees on the beach should be reported to the Stranding Team immediately. To report a stranding, please call the 24 hour Stranding Hotline at (757) 385-7575
Seals are frequent visitors to our waters, and do stop to rest on our beaches. While most that are resting on the shore are healthy, please report any sightings to our Stranding Response Program by calling (757) 385-7575.
It is very rare to see a healthy sea turtle on our shoreline, so please always call us at (757) 385-7575 to dispatch a Stranding Response Program representative to assess the animal's health and well-being.