Our History

Animal Resources of Tidewater was originally known as Animal Rescue of Tidewater. Initially, our singular focus was on rescuing and re-homing individual animals. While it made a huge difference to the individual animal, we realized it was not the most effective way to create broader change in our community. Make no mistake, ART still does rescue but instead of focusing the majority of our resources on rescue, we are using them to save many more lives by addressing systemic issues. Today our programs focus on spay/neuter,  medical assistance to keep animals in homes and legislative advocacy to ensure better laws for animals and the people who love and serve them. In fact, we typically spend over $60,000 annually assisting families whose pets need veterinarian care but cannot afford it, and providing free and low-cost spay/neuter. ART volunteers respond to requests for help 7 days a week. ART members work tirelessly to help keep pets in the home. If a pet absolutely must be re-homed, our volunteers assist with advice and support to help a pet owner do this as safely and humanely as possible for the pet.

Our Achievements


ART began a pilot project of spaying and neutering animals at no cost to citizens in the Ocean View neighborhood of Norfolk in the spring of 2009. Over the next 12 months, we went about gathering data to indentify targeted neighborhoods where low-income and high-calls to Animal Control for strays intersected. As a result of that research, SpayHR was launched in 2010. Free spay/neuter is offered to a several targeted neighborhoods and low-cost services are both marketed and offered to other areas. Since we began, over 3,000 animals have been altered with grants from Petsmart Charities, Build-A-Bear Workshop Hugs Foundation, Two Mauds, Inc., The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and the Friends of Norfolk Animal Care and Control, in addition to generous donations from private donors. The program is ongoing and the impact we are having on controlling unwanted litters is significant. We are proud to report that the City of Norfolk issued a Resolution honoring ART for these efforts.

Pit Bull Awareness Coalition

The Pit Bull Awareness Coalition is a project of Animal Resources of Tidewater and is comprised of local animal rescue groups, animal’s rights advocates, trainers and responsible “Bully Breed” owners from Southside Hampton Roads, Virginia. All of our Ambassador Dogs are trained and have received their AKC Canine Good Citizen award. Many work in local hospitals, libraries, and schools educating the public on K9 safety, helping children learn to read or simply bringing joy to sick and elderly patients. Each PBAC member is dedicated to changing the public’s perceptions, being good Ambassadors, and being the voice for our beloved Bully Breeds.  The Coalition Aims to dispel the myths & misconceptions surrounding bully breeds, promote responsible bully breed ownership, end breed discrimination and raise awareness about the true loving nature of bully breeds.

Emergency Medical Funding

ART provides funding for “owned” pets when families cannot afford medical care.  Services range from a simple bag of food to tide an owner over to the next paycheck to a significant surgery meaning life or death for the pet.  Thankfully our donors make this possible and because of our partnerships with some very generous area vets, we are able to stretch dollars donated for animal care.  The goal of this program is to keep pets in homes and out of shelters and we are thankful for the community’s support which makes it possible.

Help Hotline

Members and volunteers staff ART’s Help Hotline to respond to citizen requests for help.  Often we are able to match up a citizen in need with a provider who can help, such as a trainer, behaviorist or nearby reduced cost veterinary clinic.  Thousands of animals have been served through this community service and countless pets have been kept in homes because of this unique support.


Members actively advocate for better laws and policies for animals and their caregivers in their respective communities and at the state level.  ART believes that the foundation of a society which values animals is a system of laws which protects them and is life affirming.


While ART is a small rescue group, we work hard to support local shelters by marketing dogs and cats in their care.  We also rescue animals as foster space is available. ART rescues are provided medical care, spayed/neutered and ultimately placed in forever homes.  Since 1999, ART has rescued and adopted out approximately 2300 animals.