This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Walk for the Animals, and, in honor of the occasion, the nonprofit is adding a “Pet Fest” to the event.
The annual dog walk takes place in Bluemont Park (329 N. Manchester Street), with check-in at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K walk beginning at 10:30 a.m. There is also a one-mile “stroll” through park. After the walks conclude — you can register for them here for $30 or at the event for $40 — the Pet Fest will begin.
Owners are discouraged from bringing cats to the event.
The festival will last until 12:30 p.m. and include a “retail row,” with vendor booths from Dogma Bakery, KissAble Canine, Lazy Dog Art Studio and other pet-related local businesses. There will also be demonstration’s from Shirlington’s WOOFS! Dog Training and food from the CapMac DC truck.
With games like “bobbing for biscuits,” music from a local DJ and a “kids corner” where children can make pet-related crafts, there is no shortage of things to do when the walk is over.
“The Walk not only supports the thousands of animals the League cares for each year, but it is also a way for people to be a part of the solution for improving the lives of animals in our community,” AWLA CEO Neil Trent said in a press release. “We encourage people to walk with or without a dog, in memory of a beloved pet or in honor of their cat or other companion animal.”
(Updated at 6:00 p.m.) The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is strapped for cash and it says it’s time for the Arlington County Board to honor its responsibility to animals in the area.
“There’s a point at which we have to say ‘you’ve got to step up here’,” AWLA CEO Neil Trent told ARLnow.com today. “If you want to maintain the high level of animal welfare in Arlington, you have to give more.”
Every year, Trent said, the animal shelter — which is the county’s contractor for all animal control services — gives the county a budget for how much it costs to maintain its level of service.
In FY 2016, the difference between AWLA’s budget and the money allocated in County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed budget is $365,000. Donnellan has allocated a total of $1.37 million to AWLA.
“The county has never provided the amount of money we’ve asked for. Never,” Trent said. “Every year, they come back and say ‘this is what it is … this is what you’re going to get.’ It’s never been negotiable.”
For the first time, AWLA is asking for help to pressure the County Board for money. Yesterday, the shelter sent an email to supporters asking them to contact Board members by March 24, and “tell them that as voters and taxpayers, YOU WANT public health and animal welfare to be a budget priority and ASK the County to provide AWLA with an additional $365K to continue to keep pets and the community safe.”
AWLA employs four animal control officers who work in shifts to have coverage 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Trent says he did an analysis, and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria covers less area, a smaller population and employs five officers, all of whom are better paid than their Arlington counterparts.
On Sunday, the one control officer on duty fielded five calls from 11:20 a.m. to 4:40 p.m., including a German shepherd running in traffic that the Arlington County Police Department had to use a Taser on to subdue. Another dog had to be given shelter after its owner attempted suicide. It was busier than a typical day, Trent said, but not by much. Earlier this year, AWLA officers spent 70 hours investigating poisoned sausages that were left around north Arlington.
The lack of animal control resources in a county of 220,000 residents sometimes takes a toll. Arlington police officers have at times had to wait upwards of an hour for an animal control officer to finish up one call and respond to the animal-related police call they’re on.
In AWLA’s contract with the county, according to Trent, the shelter is required to care for injured wildlife; quarantine sick animals; take in animals whose owners have been injured or whose houses have suffered a disaster; rescue animals from abuse or neglect; and investigate public health concerns.
Also in the contract, Trent said, is a County Board-set goal of saving 90 percent of the dogs and 85 percent of cats taken in, despite the national shelter average save rate of 60 percent.
Last year, Trent said AWLA signed a 10-year extension of its animal control contract with the county, but every year the contract comes up for review. Last year, the county upped its contribution to the shelter by 1 percent, but the three years before that, the rate was flat. Meanwhile, AWLA’s costs rise about $60,000-$90,000 a year, Trent said.
“Name an award, we’ve received it,” he said. “It seems to me that we probably shot ourselves in the foot because we continue to maintain such a high standard of care that the county says ‘they’ll get on with it.'”
Trent said if AWLA doesn’t receive any additional funding, the board of directors will have to discuss which services it can scale back. He said, as CEO, the welfare of the animals in the county “is my responsibility, and I’m really concerned about the level of service. It’s not the County Board that’s going to be affected, it’s some kid that’s bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.”
And while he understands the County Board has plenty of items to fund, Trent is saying “enough is enough.”
“It would be a smack in the face from the county if they didn’t acknowledge our need,” Trent said. “You’ve only got to get one rabid raccoon in the middle of Arlington and you’ll see who’s needed most.”
Two dogs were hospitalized last month after eating sausages left on the ground on N. Columbus Street near Lee Highway. The Animal League of Arlington now knows what made them sick: caffeine pills inserted into the sausages.
AWLA spokeswoman Kerry McKeel said in an email this afternoon that the two dogs displayed “restlessness, accelerated heart rate and distended abdomens” when brought to local veterinary hospitals, but were released the next day without lingering side effects.
After conducting a toxicology report on the raw sausage AWLA recovered on the sidewalk of the 2200 block of N. Columbus Street, the organization determined caffeine pills caused the dogs’ health issues.
It remains unclear whether the dogs were intentionally or accidentally poisoned, but if it’s found that the person who left the sausages did so intentionally, he or she could face up to a year of jail time for animal cruelty, McKeel said.
McKeel said last month dog owners should “be cautious when walking their dog and to be cognizant of anything they’re eating.”
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call AWLA at 703-931-9241.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
The reports have been making their way around neighborhood listservs, the popular Mothers of North Arlington listserv, local pet-related mailing lists and social media. Numerous emails have been forwarded to ARLnow.com.
According to various reports, at least two dogs have gotten sick since Sunday after eating “raw sausages” stuffed with pills, which had been left along sidewalks in the area around N. Columbus Street, north of Lee Highway. It’s not known what exactly was in the sausages, nor who’s leaving them on the ground.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington has investigated the reports and recovered one such sausage, according to spokeswoman Kerry McKeel. That sausage is being sent for toxicology testing, which might take a couple of days. The 2200-2600 block of N. Columbus Street was the focal point of AWLA’s investigation.
McKeel could not confirm reports of one of the sick dogs being in “critical condition.”
“We talked to all the vet emergency rooms and we only have two confirmed cases,” she said. One dog was “released today and is doing fine.” No word yet on the other.
Dog owners should be extra vigilant about what their dogs might try to ingest while out on walks, according to AWLA.
“At this point we’re telling people to be cautious when walking their dog and to be cognizant of anything they’re eating,” said McKeel. “It’s unclear if this is a case of intentional poisoning or something else.”
Reached via phone this afternoon, a police spokesman referred reporters to AWLA.
McKeel said the last known incident of intentional dog poisonings in Arlington was about 10 years ago, when someone put tainted dog treats in a dog park.
At least three dogs rescued from a South Korean meat farm will soon be available for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
The AWLA is partnering with five other local rescue organizations in the D.C. area to find new lives for 23 dogs rescued earlier this month by Humane Society International. It’s the first time the organization has negotiated the rescue of dogs raised for slaughter. The farmer who owned the dogs was compensated with $2,500 and will use that money to start growing blueberries.
Three dogs were taken from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria — where all 23 have been housed since arriving at Dulles International Airport earlier this week — to AWLA’s headquarters at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive: A shih tzu named Billy, a corgi mix named Abi and a mother dog whose puppies were taken to other shelters. AWLA Executive Director Neil Trent says he expects Billy and Abi to be available for adoption in about two weeks.
“Some of the animals are going to have behavioral issues for a while, they’re not used to a kind hand,” he told ARLnow.com as his staff helped load Billy and Abi into their van. “They’re nervous, they’re stressed in a new environment, so it’s going to take some time.”
The mother might “have some health issues,” Trent said, and he’s still not sure when or how many puppies AWLA will receive. The dogs will be available for adoption on a first-come, first-served basis.
The AWLA has worked with the Humane Society of the United States before, but this was their first interaction with HSI, Trent said. Trent, who is British, is a former executive director of HSI and said it’s been a recent initiative of the organization to curb the Asian dog meat trade. Trent was notified last month that dogs may be coming to the D.C. area from South Korea.
“We’ve taken dogs from HSUS before, so we said ‘absolutely, we’ll be on alert,'” he said.
HSI’s hope is the 23 dogs rescued will be a symbol in fighting the dog meat market. HSI director Kelly O’Meara told the Washington Post that between 1.2 million and 2 million dogs are eaten in South Korea every year.
The awards are given each year to individuals and organizations who show a “sustained commitment and/or outstanding accomplishment in the area of human rights made in Arlington,” according to the county’s press release.
The award winners will be honored at a ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 11, in the Arlington County Board room on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The winners are selected by Arlington’s Human Rights Commission.
“It is a true honor and privilege to recognize these outstanding individuals and organizations,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “They are the true heroes of our community and what makes Arlington such a great place to live. We should all be grateful for having such outstanding individuals and organizations in our community who have dedicate their lives and their work to look after those in need.”
Below is the complete list of winners, from the county’s announcement:
- Barbara Amaya is a long time Arlington resident who was a victim of violence through human trafficking during her adolescence and early adulthood stages of her life. She has been able to turn her personal pain and suffering into relentless advocacy against human trafficking and violence.
- Stephen Fowler is the president of the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, a non-profit entity committed to provide legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney in civil matters. He has gone beyond his policy commitments as president of the board, and volunteers his time representing victims of domestic violence in court, among others, to obtain protective orders.
- The Animal Welfare League not only protects animals from violence but the stability of families and the safety of a spouse or a child. Studies have demonstrated that people who abuse pets are at an increased risk of becoming domestic abusers. Other studies have shown that almost half of the victims of domestic abuse — who need to leave their homes — fear for the safety of the pets and delay leaving. Pets play a significant part in the emotional stability and sometimes the physical safety of children and people who owned them.
- Doorways for Women and Families is a provider of shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence. It provides immediate and lon- term housing for women and families fleeing domestic violence and homelessness. It delivers support services aimed at helping women and families learn how to get back on their feet and live safe and independent lives. It advocates for changes that will help eliminate domestic violence and homelessness.
- The Reading Connection has been serving Arlington County for more than 25 years. It provides an array of literacy programs aimed at children at-risk and families. Creating a literacy-rich environment helps children succeed and serves as a long-term strategy to escape the cycle of poverty. Last year, The Reading Connection served 218 at-risk children in Arlington County, through its Read-Aloud program, and 118 parents through the Reading Family Workshops. Reading is an important element of education, which is one of the best tools against all kinds of violence.
Image via Doorways
A kitten named Speedo is getting the physical therapy he needs.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is treating a two-month-old domestic shorthair known as a “swimmer” cat who walks by making swimming-like motions with his front paws.
Born with rear legs that splay outward, Speedo was dropped off at the AWLA at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. by an owner who wasn’t in the position to deal with his medical issues, Chief Operating Officer Susan Sherman said.
The shelter found a foster home for the kitten, who gets physical therapy treatments every day. Rather than opting for surgery on his legs, Speedo gets massages and may even receive acupuncture treatments.
“The massage is meant to train the muscles and ligaments,” Sherman said. “The acupuncture would stimulate nerves.
“We do not believe he’s in any pain,” she added.
AWLA veterinarians made a special “alley” for Speedo to walk through with his hind legs bound, encouraging him to walk correctly.
To help pets like Speedo, AWLA is asking for donations to their Woody and Mickey Healthy Pet Fund, which helps special needs pets by paying for”above and beyond” services like orthopedic surgery, blood tests and dental surgery.
Despite his ongoing treatments, Speedo is a sweetheart, Sherman said.
“He is adorable. He’s very sweet and amazingly friendly.”
AWLA expects the kitten will need a permanent home later this year.
“We’re going to see how much he’s able to progress, and as soon as we think he’s going to be able to live a healthy, happy life, he’ll be up for adoption,” she said.
AWLA made this video of Speedo walking through his “alley”:
With domestic violence in the news, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is spreading the word about a program that allows those in dire situations to shelter their pets.
The nonprofit organization, located at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive, has a program called “Safekeeping.” The program allows pet owners in Arlington and Falls Church to shelter their pets at AWLA for up to two weeks while the owner is coping with an emergency, like domestic violence, losing a home or the owner’s death.
With the national spotlight thrust on domestic violence after video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée, AWLA is hoping to remind abuse victims that their pet’s well-being could be at risk as well as their own.
“A strong connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence,” said AWLA spokeswoman Kerry McKeel. “Women often delay their decision to leave an abusive partner out of concern for the safety of their pets.”
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 83 percent of women and 63 percent of children, after having arrived at a domestic violence shelter — such as Doorways for Women and Families — reported incidents of pet abuse.
“At AWLA our steadfast mission throughout the year is to improve the lives of animals and one way in which we accomplish this objective is through our Safekeeping program,” McKeel said. “Animals often give continuity and hope during a crisis, so it is distressing for many when they feel forced to part with a pet due to their circumstance. During a crisis, pet owners often just need some short-term help to get back on their feet and that is what we offer through the Safekeeping program.”
Animals can be sheltered at AWLA for two weeks at a time, and the owners are required to check on the pet’s welfare after one week, AWLA says. There is no limit for how many times an animal can be sheltered in case of emergency. McKeel said that, since Safekeeping was launched as a service in 2005, more than 200 animals have been sheltered.
File photo courtesy AWLA
Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
AWLA provides animal adoption and community programs to the northern Virginia and D.C. metropolitan area, as well as animal rescue and control services within Arlington County. AWLA is committed to its mission to improve the lives of animals through sheltering, community services and humane education.
More than 3,000 companion animals benefit each year, with 92 percent of sheltered animals in 2013 either being adopted into loving homes, reunited with their owner, or transferred to one of many of AWLA’s network of rescue and rehabilitation partners.
Many of you already may be familiar with AWLA’s basic services, but AWLA also offers some innovative programs about which you may not be as familiar. These include baby ready pets, safekeeping (companions in crisis), and the veterinary assistance program.
Baby Ready Pets
Baby-Ready Pets is a free, two-hour workshop to help expectant families in northern Virginia prepare their home and their pets for the arrival of the new baby. This workshop:
- Provides tips and strategies for making the home a safe and (relatively) stress-free experience for all, and
- Has been endorsed by the ASPCA.
After the workshop, participants may call or email follow-up questions if they need additional support.
Safekeeping (Companions in Crisis)
If you are an Arlington County or Falls Church City resident, and you are experiencing a health or housing crisis (i.e. unexpected hospitalization, house fire), AWLA can shelter your pet on a short-term basis, through the Safekeeping program, giving you time to make other arrangements.
Pets are permitted to stay for up to two weeks, and there is no restriction on the number of times people can use the service. The pet’s owner is required to contact AWLA on a weekly basis during the safekeeping period to check on the wellbeing of their pet, and is permitted to visit their pet during the League’s regular visiting hours.
Veterinary Assistance Program
Through the Ross-Roberts Emergency Veterinary Assistance fund, the League makes small, no-interest loans to low-income pet owners who need emergency veterinary care for their pets but cannot afford the costs up-front. AWLA doesn’t cover expenses for basic pet care (shots, check-ups, teeth-cleaning) or chronic, life-long conditions (i.e. diabetes, heart condition, allergies). The owner agrees to pay back the loan in monthly installments and to have their pet spayed or neutered if it is not already.
Arlington is fortunate to have AWLA offering these services in our community. For more information about these programs, visit www.awla.org
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
The inaugural event will be held at Lubber Run Amphitheater this Sunday, June 29, starting at 6:00 p.m.
Attendees can bring their dogs and a picnic meal, or buy boxed dinners from La Cote d’Or onsite. The AWLA will also hold a raffle for a birdhouse replica of the Lincoln-era White House. The philharmonic will play “marches and animal-related classics” from pieces by Aaron Copland, John Philip Sousa and Johann Sebastian Bach, according to an AWLA press release.
“Both of our organizations are really quite enthused about this, so we’ll see what the public response is,” John Ratigan, board chair of the philharmonic, said. The philharmonic and the AWLA hope “Pops for Pets” will become an annual event.
A combination of the open amphitheater and “accessible” music selection, Ratigan said, makes this event more of a crowd-pleaser than a typical orchestral performance.
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette’s 13-year-old Border Collie-mix, Cassie, will serve as honorary co-chair of the event.
“She is like a little Buddah,” Fisette said of his dog, which he found on the street while visiting family in Texas.
Concert-goers’ donations will go toward funding the event and “the missions of both organizations,” AWLA Board Chair Pat Ragan said. “It’ll be a great community event.”
Following its 7oth Anniversary Summer Soiree, “Pops for Pets” will continue to celebrate both AWLA’s anniversary and their on-going efforts to find homes and provide care for over 3,000 animals.
AWLA was founded during World War II, and the foresight of the founders is not lost on AWLA President and CEO Neil Trent.
“Back in the ’40s they thought of this in a coffee shop with a war going on,” Trent said. “They said hey, let’s help animals… and they weren’t sitting at the corner Starbucks either.”
Retractable leashes will not be allowed at the event. In the event of inclement weather, “Pops for Pets” will be rescheduled for Tuesday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m.
The video shows the kittens nodding their heads in a synchronized “dance,” seemingly along with the beat of the hit song “Turn Down for What,” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.
Daisy and Tulip are eight weeks old and are still available for adoption, according to AWLA Executive Director Neil Trent. The video, posted on May 29, has already accumulated more than 3 million views, but Trent said despite people calling with interest about the two kittens, the shelter has yet to receive any formal adoption applications.
Daisy and Tulip, sisters found abandoned when they were less than a week old and their eyes were still closed, are scheduled for surgery to get spayed on Thursday, but Trent said anyone can come in and visit this afternoon, Wednesday or after the surgery on Friday to see the two felines.
“We haven’t had anything that’s gotten this kind of reception,” Trent told ARLnow.com. “Occasionally we’ll post something on YouTube of a cat or a kitten. I think it may be stimulated a bit because the writer of the song is a rap guy named Lil Jon and he Facebooked about the video. Maybe that’s what helped it go out into the ether.”
Daisy, the tortoiseshell-colored kitten, and Tulip are two of about 25-30 kittens currently residing in AWLA’s new feline shelter, along with 45-50 cats, Trent said. There are also about 50 kittens in foster families, where they live until they’re about eight weeks old and are ready to be spayed.
Photo courtesy AWLA
An Alcova Heights resident called Arlington animal control officers earlier this month to report the sound of animals screaming.
While the man thought the animals might be in danger, an officer determined that it was most likely the sound of foxes mating. From the Animal Watch files of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington:
May 6, 2014 – 4000 block 8th Street South
Animal Control received a call from a man who was concerned about the sound of animals screaming, fearful that they might be injured. An Animal Control Officer spoke to the caller and gathered a description of the noises he was hearing. It was determined that it was likely fox. Fox commonly make screaming sounds when socializing and mating; behavior that is common this time of year.
Meanwhile, in the Arlington Ridge and Pentagon City neighborhoods last month, on two separate occasions animal control was called for a report of a “lethargic” squirrel.
April 30, 2014 – 1500 South Fern Street
Animal Control received a call about a squirrel, described as “dying” on the sidewalk in the torrential downpour. An animal control officer responded, and impounded the cold, lethargic, juvenile squirrel. The Officer provided the squirrel with heat therapy, and then offered some formula. Within 2 hours the squirrel was bright and alert, trying to escape from its box. The squirrel was transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for continued recovery, and eventual release.
April 21, 2014 – 2400 block South Lynn Street
Animal Control received a call about a baby squirrel, observed lying on the sidewalk. An Animal Control Officer responded and picked up the juvenile squirrel, which was quite lethargic, for transport to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
In the Courthouse area, meanwhile, another young squirrel got itself into some trouble after climbing into a washing machine. It was treated for eye ulcers caused by laundry detergent.
April 28, 2014 – 2300 block 11th St. North
Animal Control received a call about a squirrel, confined in a washing machine. An Animal Control Officer responded and found a juvenile squirrel in the machine, covered in laundry detergent. The squirrel was impounded, bathed, and transferred to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for care. The rehabilitator reports back that the squirrel is receiving medical treatment for ulcers to his eyes, a result of the detergent. He is recovering well, and will be released back to the wild once recovered.
The event begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. and there will be a 3-mile walk or a 1-mile stroll for participants, who can bring their dog along with them (for their safety, other animals are not permitted at the walk). Registration is $30 for adults, $25 for participants between age 12 and 17 — who must be accompanied by an adult — and $5 for children between 6 and 11 years old. On-site registration is $40.
Participants are also encouraged to solicit sponsors to raise more money to reach AWLA’s goal of $120,000 for the event. As of 1:20 p.m. today, AWLA had raised $68,075. Individuals who raise more than $250 will be entered into a raffle to win a prize, which in previous years has been a hotel giveaway or restaurant gift cards. The walk will be held rain or shine.
“The Walk will unify the community in a celebration of the human-animal bond, while raising awareness and funds to directly benefit the hundreds of adoptable animals and community programs supported by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington — the County’s only humane society,” AWLA said on its event page. “Many of AWLA’s adoptable dogs will be onsite to meet potential new families.”
Photo via AWLA
Arrow, the cat found that was found in Ballston shot with more than 30 BBs, including at least 20 that remain lodged in his head, was adopted today at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Bluemont resident Anne Hancock took Arrow — who the shelter estimates is 6 years old — home after an emotional goodbye with AWLA staff. Arrow was brought to AWLA Jan. 18 by someone who found him wandering near Ballston Common Mall.
He came in with an upper respiratory infection and when he was given an X-Ray, veterinarians were shocked to find his body riddled with BBs and buckshot. One eye had to be removed, and he’s blind in his other eye.
Hancock’s daughter and grandson volunteer with AWLA — in fact, her daughter transported Arrow from the shelter to the vet — and they told her about the cat who, despite being horrifically abused, was so friendly and gentle around people.
“He seemed to be a special cat,” Hancock said. “He’s affectionate, sweet and very, very dear.”
Hancock will take him to a home with two other cats — cats that she said have been lonely since her third cat, which was similar in age and color to Arrow, died from cancer a few months ago.
Hancock was one of about 15 who expressed interest in adopting Arrow after ARLnow.com and other news outlets reported on him last month, AWLA Adoptions and Rescue Coordinator Amy Laferrera said. Frequently, animals that have been abused take longer to find homes, but Arrow was quickly in demand.
“We were shocked at how, all of a sudden, there was this huge outpouring of support,” LaFerrera said. “People not only wanted to adopt him but they wanted to donate and help the shelter any way they could.”
Arrow quickly became a favorite around the shelter, coming to humans who called for him or made noises to let him know they were nearby. Hancock picked him up at 2:00 p.m. today, and Arrow spent all morning saying goodbye to the staff at the shelter.
“I’m sad, in a good way, to see him go,” Charnita Fox, an animal care manager whose desk was just a few feet from Arrow’s pen. “I knew he was special when he was brought in because he pretty much let us do anything to him. We didn’t believe he was blind at first because he uses his other senses so well.”
After Hancock signed the adoption paperwork, Arrow was brought to AWLA’s front desk in crate to meet his new owner. He meowed a few times when his crate was closed, but when he was let out he quickly explored the desk he was on. Once Hancock picked him up, he settled peacefully into her arms as he was showered with affection. One AWLA staffer, after snapping a few cell phone photos, excused herself, saying “I’m going to go cry now.”
“He’s a special fella,” Hancock said after meeting him. “I feel like I won the lottery.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) wants to make life a little better for its feline residents by upgrading their housing.
In the upcoming weeks, the shelter will undergo a complete facelift of its cat quarters that includes six cageless cat colonies, a separate kitten room, an adoption area with enlarged windows, and larger cages with spaces for hiding, perching and stretching. There will also be two isolation rooms for sick cats, two private rooms for potential adopters to “get acquainted” with the cats and a new HVAC system.
Neil Trent, AWLA President and CEO, expects all of the renovations and construction to be finished by the middle of March.
To pay for the renovations, the league launched a fundraising campaign dubbed Care And Transform (CAT). It has a goal of raising $670,000, to “improve the intake and quality of life for feline and small companion animals at the shelter,” according to a press release.
AWLA’s cats stay for 35 days on average, but some end up staying for as long as a year, according to the press release. For long-term cats, the new improvements are very important.
In a 2010 report, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) claimed that “poor cat housing is one of the greatest shortcomings observed in shelters and has a substantially negative impact on both health and well-being.”
“We believe that while cats are in our care we must do everything that we can to enrich their lives and that includes an opportunity to stretch, climb and play,” said Trent.
AWLA held an adoption event this Valentine’s Day weekend to benefit the CAT campaign. For just $14, attendees could adopt a cat, bird, or rabbit to call their own.
However, due to last week’s snowstorm, the event didn’t go quite as planned. One cat found a permanent home, but several others are still waiting to find a match. So far the CAT campaign has raised just over 35 percent of its goal.
Photos courtesy AWLA