This week’s Arlington Animal Watch blotter includes a belated but somewhat amusing holiday-related item from December.
A Westover resident got more than she bargained for when her Christmas tree came with an unwelcome visitor. From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington:
12/2/11 — 1400 block N. Kenilworth St. — A resident purchased a Christmas tree and when she brought it in the house, a wild animal, thought to be a squirrel came out of the tree. Animal control set a trap for the squirrel overnight, and the resident propped her front door open so the animal could exit. The animal did not go into the trap and is no longer in the home so it is believed it ran through the open door.
Older Arlington Residents Give County High Marks — Arlington scored well above the state average in a recent survey of older Virginians. “People over 50 years of age in Arlington say they have a high quality of life, feel safe and secure, and are happy with their access to healthcare services, educational opportunities and recreational activities,” according to a county press release. [Arlington County]
‘Hairspray’ Actor Is Local TV/Radio Personality — Local WETA on-air personality Robery Aubry Davis is playing the role of Edna Turnblad in the Signature Theatre production of ‘Hairspray,’ which opened in Shirlington last week. [Sun Gazette]
Fighting Deer Cause Ruckus — According to an Arlington animal control blotter item, a pair of fighting bucks crashed through a glass patio window in the 3600 block of N. Monroe Street earlier this month. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
According to police radio traffic, the young female deer was walking right up to Glebe Elementary School students today before school — a behavior much more reminiscent of a lost puppy than a wild deer. In days past, kids had been spotted feeding the deer in a local park.
Arlington animal control officers are reportedly aware of the deer and are trying to capture it.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
On a fishing expedition to the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, located between Crystal City and the GW Parkway, local fly fishing guide Rob Snowhite made a surprising discovery: a group of wild chickens that has apparently taken residence in the sanctuary.
Snowhite wrote on his blog this morning that shortly after parking in the Roaches Run parking lot (across from Gravelly Point, the lot is frequented by limo drivers waiting for airport arrivals) an animal control officer arrived on scene and started trying to round up the wily birds, who seemed determined to not be evicted from their South Arlington home. To assist the effort, Snowhite and his fishing buddy got out their nets and joined the chase. After 20 minutes of fruitless effort, the trio gave up — an outcome that was cheered by some bystanders who told the men to leave the chickens alone.
The two fishermen continued on with their fly fishing mission at the sanctuary, marveling at the prospect of wild chickens living near an urban pond but lamenting the unsuccessful chicken chase.
“There won’t be any fresh roast chicken at Ri Ra tonight,” Snowhite quipped.
Photo courtesy Rob Snowhite
Wild Animals Rescued During Hurricane — Given this week’s weather, Hurricane Irene is increasingly looking like a brief summer rain shower. Nonetheless, the hurricane created a dangerous situation for humans and animals alike. Animal control officers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington rescued more than 20 wild animals during the storm, mostly baby squirrels. [Washington Post]
Defense Contractor Moving HQ to Arlington — Defense contractor ATK is moving its headquarters from Minneapolis to Rosslyn. The move will only affect the top brass at the company, however. Fewer than 10 employees, mostly executives, are expected to make the move. [DefenseNews]
Arlington Man Found Dead in N.J. — Arlington resident David C. Williams, 47, was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of his car in Woodbine, N.J. on Wednesday. Foul play is not suspected. [Shore News Today]
Arlington Arts Center Happy Hour — The Arlington Arts Center will be starting its series of fall happy hours on Thursday, Sept. 15. [Clarendon Nights]
Flickr photo courtesy of Brendan L.
Ducklings Rescued from Storm Drain — Hanging upside down in a storm drain, an Arlington animal control officer managed to save nine ducklings that had become trapped in a tunnel. The ducklings and their mother were reunited and brought to the nearby Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary. [Animal Watch]
ART 45 Bus Route Expanding — The ART 45 bus route is expanding. It will now run farther down Columbia Pike while at the same time adding a stop at the Courthouse Metro station en route to Rosslyn. [Arlington Transit]
Arlington Schools Spend More Per Pupil — Arlington Public Schools spend 86 percent more per pupil than the national average, according to new Census figures. Arlington spends $19,538 per pupil, while the national average sits at $10,499. [Sun Gazette]
“I just came home to find the crows are pecking at what looks like a decapitated deer head in my backyard,” the woman said in an email to the Waycroft-Woodlawn email listserv. “I don’t know what I am supposed to do… I REALLY don’t want to pick it up… it may have some disease. I have never seen a deer in our neighbourhood before. And where is the rest of the poor thing?”
The woman ended up reporting it to animal control officers with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. An officer quickly arrived and indeed found part of a deer’s head lying in the grass.
“It was in a pretty rank state of decomposition,” said AWLA Executive Director Neil Trent, adding that “there’s no evidence of how it got there, or of any foul play.”
Trent said animal carcasses are discovered “fairly regularly” in the county, but they’re usually found on the sides of roads, not in people’s backyards.
The woman’s house is located between I-66 and Washington Boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from Ballston. Trent said one possible explanation would be that the deer was hit and killed on the highway, and part of its remains were carried off by a scavenger, which dropped it in the yard.
Its high euthanization rate and its reluctance to cooperate with animal rescue groups prompted animal advocates to launch an anonymous blog last year called the AWLA Hawk.
Most recently, the AWLA Hawk published statistics showing that about 30 percent of all dogs and cats that entered the shelter in FY 2010 were euthanized.
Enter Neil Trent, who took over as the League’s executive director in September.
“Not on my watch,” he said, after being asked about the numbers.
Trent, who started his career in animal welfare more than 30 years ago as an animal cruelty law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom, says that he is making collaboration a high priority in his effort to reduce the kill rate.
“Whatever we can do to try to get more animals turned around through the shelter process and out into foster homes or new homes as quickly as we can, that’s what our challenge is going to be,” he said. To that end, he’s pushing AWLA to be “more collaborative, to reach out more and engage more members of the community.”
Among the initiatives Trent has been undertaking is collaborating with animal rescue organizations — including breed-specific rescue organizations — to try to place more cats and dogs with adoptive families.
“We are starting to network more with local rescue groups,” he said. “They do great work in finding homes.”
Trent has also been trying to bolster the League’s volunteer corps, in an effort to make shelter animals more visible at events in the community.
“If we get more volunteers, we’ll have more opportunity… to get more of our adoptable animals out to these outdoor events,” he said.
“We’re talking about living animals here,” Trent added. “They’re not just commodities sitting in a parking lot with a for sale sign on them. They’re living breathing creatures, and our role is to ensure that these animals get every possible chance that they can to make a very short spell here at the shelter and back into a good forever home as quickly as possible.”
On Wednesday, AWLA will host a workshop about feral cats with the group Alley Cat Allies. At least 50 people are expected to attend the event, during which Trent will discuss the new Trap-Neuter-Return program that he’s helping to implement.
Update: The situation has been safely resolved.
An “angry” and “aggressive” pitbull is on the loose in the Nauck section of Arlington, near Drew Model Elementary School. Police are on the scene and animal control is en route.