Gracie’s Guardians

Gracie's Guardians, is an initiative of the Richmond Animal League specifically focused on improving the welfare of pit bulls in the greater Richmond area. The group's name is taken from "Gracie", one of the many dogs from the Michael Vick case, who was adopted by a Richmond Animal League board member. We have chosen her as our namesake in tribute to her perseverance and that of countless other pit bulls who have suffered or continue to suffer at the hands of people, yet whose spirits and love for humans remains untarnished.

Gracie's Guardians takes multi-faceted approach to address the plight of pit bulls in our community. Our organization offers limited, traditional fostering and adoption of pit bulls rescued from public shelters, combined with proactive spay and neuter support to pit bull owners in need along with targeted education and awareness outreach to the community in general. Through spay and neuter and educational outreach, we seek to address the human causes that drive ongoing overpopulation and suffering of these dogs.

How We Help

Spay & Neuter

At the root of much of the suffering of animals is the fact that there are way too many unwanted animals in our community. Spaying and neutering is the only surefire method to reduce this. We offer free spay/neuter to pit bulls in need, encourage responsible pit bull ownership by giving out spay/neuter coupons, and host free spay/neuter clinics through the year. On a yearly basis, we provide more than 100 free spay/neuter surgeries for local pit bulls, preventing hundreds of unwanted puppies.

Fostering & Adopting

While most of our efforts focus on more broad scale issues, we do provide some fostering and adoption services for a handful of dogs in need and always do whatever we can to help them. Additionally, we seek creative ways to partner with local shelters to promote and encourage adoption of dogs in their care.

Community Outreach

We regularly visit several neighborhoods in the Richmond area to provide resources and guidance to help improve the situations of outdoor dogs by providing spay/neuter coupons, food, dog houses, and educating the owner about pit bulls and animal welfare.

Public Education & Awareness

Some of the ways we raise awareness of this misunderstood breed are launching effective ad campaigns, presentations to students and community groups, and the screening of documentary films.

We are always seeking help from the public at-large.

Fundraising Opportunities - We are always seeking opportunities to raise funds towards our outreach, awareness and spay/neuter efforts. If you have a business and may be willing to partner on a fundraiser or know of other options we may be interested in, please drop us an email.

Public awareness presentations - We're always looking for audiences that may be interested to learn more about pit bulls, animal welfare or even how to spot dog fighting. If you run an organization or work with a group of people who may be interested in one of these subjects, please let us know, we'd love to talk to you.

Volunteers - From time to time, we need volunteers to support various initiatives. If you have skills that may be helpful such as fundraising, marketing or organizational skills, feel free to complete a Volunteer Application to the right and send it to us.

If you can help with any of the following, or if you would like more information on our organization, please contact us at

Courtesy Listings These pets are not at the RAL shelter but are in the community and looking for loving homes. Please contact the person listed directly to inquire about adoption