Priority PAYS HALF the Adoption Fees!


For the 12th straight year, Priority Automotive is teaming up with local animal shelters to find homes for shelter pets during the holiday season.

Starting December 5,​ ​Priority will pay half of the adoption fees at four area shelters to help families and individuals reduce the initial cost of bringing a new pet home. Priority has committed $40,000 to the
effort. The program will continue through New Year’s, or until the funds run out.

“Finding homes for shelter pets during the holidays has become a Priority family tradition,” said Priority Automotive President Dennis Ellmer. “These wonderful animals need homes, and there are many loving homes across Hampton Roads ready to make them part of their family.”

COVID-19 restrictions have led to some changes this year. At the Peninsula SPCA, adoptive families are asked to make online appointments and schedule a time to see adoptable pets at the shelter.

Participating shelter locations are as follows:
Virginia Beach SPCA – 3040 Holland Road
Norfolk SPCA – 916 Ballentine Boulevard
Chesapeake Animal Services – 2100 S. Military Highway
Peninsula SPCA – 523 J Clyde Morris Blvd.

Priority Automotive was founded in 1999 by Dennis Ellmer with the acquisition of Chevrolet and Toyota
dealerships in Chesapeake, Virginia. Today, Priority owns and operates 18 dealerships and numerous collision repair centers throughout Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, representing 10 brands –
Acura, BraunAbility, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. Priority has
more than 200,000 Priorities for Life customers throughout Virginia and employs more than 2,000
people. For more information, visit

Safekeepers Program

In the last few years, we have noticed more and more owner surrender requests due to a temporary circumstance.  We have had families that found themselves in between housing situations after being laid off from their job and they had no place for their pets to stay while they searched for new lodging. We had instances of individuals being hospitalized and no one to care for their pet.  One couple was being forced to surrender their dog because it was a couple pounds over the weight limit at their apartment complex.  The reasons varied but they all had the same thing in common.  They were dealing with some type of temporary challenge and they were facing the heart-wrenching decision to surrender their pet. It became very clear that we needed to do something to help these people keep their pets.  From this need “Safekeepers” was born. 

In just six months we had already helped ten pets with temporary shelter, food, and medical care.  They received vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery prior to being returned to their owners.  We are here to help pets AND their people. We have found there is a definite need in our community for this type of emergency sheltering.

We hope to continue growing this program in order to meet our community’s needs. 

Safekeepers wouldn’t be possible without the support from our partners The Petco Foundation and the Karie Ermatinger Family who supported our efforts from the very beginning.  Their support has ensured that we could keep these pets safe and return them to their owners in order to preserve the pet and people bond they have formed with their families.  We know this is just the beginning of many bonds that will not be broken due to a temporary circumstance. 

If you are interested in supporting the Peninsula SPCA’s Safekeepers program please e-mail

Humane Education Saturday Morning Camps

Saturday Morning Camps at the Peninsula SPCA

Ocamp1ctober 28, 2017

November 18, 2017

December 16, 2017

9:00am to 12:00pm – Grades 2-5

Cost: $20 per session

Join us for three hours of fun time with the Humane Ed and Barnyard animals, visit with the shelter pets, and enjoy some fun crafts and hands-on activities!


Register Now



Raise the Woof!

raise-the-woof-fb-event2femail-1Join us Saturday, August 6, 2-5pm at Peninsula Fine Arts Center

A project benefiting PFAC and the Peninsula SPCA

Tickets: $35 for Humans, Pets are free.

Event features: afternoon barbecue, raffle prizes, on-site pet portraits, gourmet pet snacks, cash bar with beer and wine.

See unique dog houses, cat condos, rabbit hutches, bird houses, chicken coops, and pet furniture, designed and built by local builders, architects, artists, and students!

Entries will be featured in the RAISE THE WOOF silent auction and sold to benefit PFAC and the Peninsula SPCA. Entries will also be eligible for cash prizes totaling $1000, selected by our celebrity judges. Each entry submission receives 2 tickets to the event!

More event info!

Call for Raise the Woof Entries

Entry Guidelines

CNU Bingo Night! to benefit PSPCA

cnu bingo B I N G O

Fall Family Fun Day

Join us at the SPCA Petting Zoo for family fun, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, October 10, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.  $5 per child, includes Petting Zoo admission and children’s activities.

  • Create Pumpkin Candy Pouches and your own Halloween mask
  • Decorate a gourd for Halloween – cats, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns (while supplies last)
  • Make a mini scarecrow and ghost pops!

SPCA Egg Hunt Bigger Than Ever

IMG_4418 The birds were chirping and the sun was shining- it was a perfect day for the SPCA Egg Hunt! The 2nd Annual SPCA Easter Egg Hunt was on Saturday, April 12, 2014. In attendance were nearly 200 children and their parents, representing the largest number of people to be in the Petting Zoo at one time. Additional parking was available thanks to Hampton Roads Crane & Rigging and Richmond Steel. At the event, children could take pictures with the “Easter Puppy”, snack on baked-goods from the bake sale, and of course, hunt for eggs. The SPCA Easter Egg Hunt took place in the petting zoo- animals and all! Alongside our goats and llama, children looked high and low for colorful Easter eggs, which were hidden throughout the entire barnyard. Fitting with the theme, the even cow from the Chick-Fila-A at Christopher Newport made an appearance. Every child received a goody bag filled with candy, free petting zoo passes, and items from the YMCA, Newport News Libraries, and Rebounderz. With a registration fee of just $5 per child, the Easter Egg Hunt raised $1,001 for the homeless animals of the Peninsula. On July 1, the Peninsula SPCA will become an “Adoption Guarantee shelter” and will rely solely on donations and support from the surrounding community. Save the date for next year’s egg hunt: March 28, 2015!

Community Support for Peninsula SPCA Fur Ball Increases 48% in 2014 as Adoption-Guarantee Transition Nears

The 2014 Fur Ball

Peninsula people and their pets came out in record numbers on the evening of February 1 to demonstrate their support and enthusiasm for the Peninsula SPCA’s coming transition to an adoption-guarantee shelter and humane education center.

Private citizens, business people and local and state governmental representatives attended with their special animal companions to help raise funds in support of the PSPCA’s new operating model that will focus primarily on adoptions, community humane education, and development of partnerships with other animal welfare groups.

“Through partnerships with the new Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter and other local animal welfare organizations, we will expand the resources available to all of our area’s homeless pets,” said Ellen Thacker, Executive Director of the Peninsula SPCA. “This is how we’ll achieve the Adoption Guarantee Community that our citizens are requesting and our animals deserve.”
This year’s funding success was led by Best in Show Sponsorships of $50,000 each from Ferguson and Smithfield Foods.

“Ferguson is proud to be a part of the PSPCA’s transformation and lifesaving efforts,” said Ferguson Director of Communication Denise Vaughn. “We are focused on building partnerships in the community to tackle many social issues we face. It is very rewarding to work alongside other dedicated corporations such as Smithfield Foods to truly make a difference.”

Under the new Adoption Guarantee model, the PSPCA will save all the healthy and treatable animals under their care, with euthanasia reserved only as a last resort for unhealthy and untreatable animals. Since the PSPCA board of directors’ decision to undertake this new operating model, the shelter’s live release rate has climbed dramatically, increasing from 41% at the end of 2012 to 75% so far in 2014. Additionally, the PSPCA has continued to grow its foster program, placing pets in need of some additional healing or growing time with families who take special care of them.

“Our vision is that no healthy adoptable animals will be killed simply because there is a lack of cage space or as a means of animal population control,” said Thacker. “By working together, treating each life as precious, we can truly transform our community.”

Peninsula SPCA Increases Adoptions by 82%

SPCA Adoptions increase 82% from August ’12 to August ‘13

The number of animals adopted from the Peninsula SPCA in August increased by 82%, or 118 animals, over August of last year, while the number of animals that had to be euthanized was reduced by almost half. These results were achieved even before the Peninsula SPCA switches to an “adoption-guarantee” or no-kill model by the end of this year.

Staff at the SPCA credits this improvement in results to ongoing adoption specials, a growing network of foster families and volunteers, and the willingness of the community to look first at the shelter when seeking a new family pet. Intake at the shelter has also declined this year, which may mean that the public has become more aware of how important it is to spay or neuter their companion animals.

The Peninsula SPCA took in over 7500 animals needing shelter in 2012, and currently serves as the animal impoundment shelter for the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and York County. The municipalities are in the process of constructing a new shared shelter that is scheduled to open in January of 2014.

Paws for a Cause Top Fundraisers

Leading Individual Fundraisers

  1. Colleen Hall- $505
  2. Sharon Dirmeyer- $500
  3. Teri Politi- $500
  4. Verna Cremeans- $460
  5. Oliver SPVH- $387

Top Teams:

  1. Team Salty Dawg’s- $1,582
  2. Tongues N’ Noses- $505
  3. Throw Me a Bone- $460
  4. Chicks and Dawgs- $160
  5. The Board Walkers- $150

Thank you to all our fundraisers and donors!  It could be you!  Register to walk or run for the animals today.

Want to help your favorite team or participant?  Click on their name and donate now.  For a complete listing of participants visit our Paws for a Cause Fundraising Page.

To learn more (including fundraising tips) about our 7th Annual Paws for a Cause.

*Results as of 6/24/13