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.
Home Alone in Rosslyn — Thanks to a summer rainstorm a few weeks ago, tomorrow will be the last day of the Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival. Home Alone will be shown in the usual spot in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. The 1990 classic family comedy (“without the family”) will play on the big screen starting at dusk.
Satellite Truck is Still Parked in Arlington — A mysterious satellite truck, which we’ve written about two times before, continues to pester residents in north Arlington. A tipster tells us the truck is parked on Fairfax Drive near Arlington Traditional School. It has been there at least a week.
Animal Welfare League Marks Near-Completion — With work on a new addition to the Arlington Animal Welfare League’s Shirlington facility nearly complete, employees and pet lovers gathered Tuesday night to celebrate. More from the Sun Gazette.
With two big rallies invading DC this weekend (the crowd at the Glenn Beck rally alone is expected to number in the hundreds of thousands), you may want to avoid traveling into the District altogether. The good news is that there’s plenty of fun things to do over here on the quieter side of the Potomac.
On Saturday, the Center Hiking Club is sponsoring an all-day, 12-mile historical walking tour of central Arlington, which will include visits to colonial, Civil War, trolley, and W&OD railroad sites. There will also be stops at cemeteries, log cabins, historic springs and old mills, among others. The tour will start at the Clarendon Metro Station at 9:00 a.m. and end at the Ballston Metro Station around 7:00 p.m. The cost is a mere $2.00. Contact organizer Bernie Berne at (703) 243-0179 or bhberne [at] yahoo.com for more information.
Also on Saturday, Shirlington Village is holding its second annual “Wags ‘N’ Whiskers” pet event from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. See our previous article on the event for more information.
Finally, on Sunday, expect a large crowd at Pentagon City’s Fire Station No. 5 for a public ceremony where Arlington County will formally accept a gift of World Trade Center steel from New York City. Representatives of New York’s Fire Department and 500 motorcyclists will be escorting the steel from Brooklyn to Arlington. Between the escort, the middle school choir coming up from Georgia for the event, and spillover from the aforementioned Restoring Honor rally, we expect this to be a very well-attended event. It will take place at 11:00 Sunday morning at 1750 S. Hayes Street. If you have to drive, we recommend parking at the Pentagon City mall garage.
Flickr pool photo by Christaki.
On August 28, Shirlington’s “Wags ‘N’ Whiskers” event returns for a second year. The family-friendly festival will feature live music, pet portraits, contests, demonstrations, children’s entertainment and other free activities.
Fifteen vendors — including pet charities, groomers, publications and bakeries — will be in attendance, under tents along Campbell Avenue, near the library.
Shirlington merchants will also have specials and giveaways during the event.
“Wags ‘N’ Whiskers” will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 28, rain or shine. Of course, your four-legged friends are welcome to attend.
NWS: No Sign of Tornado in South Arlington — Despite photos of car windows blown out and mass tree devastation, a team from the National Weather Service found no evidence that a tornado caused the worst of the damage in South Arlington. More from Fox 5.
Arlington FBI Impersonator Sentenced — Arlington resident Brenna Marie Reilly, 29, who told people she was the director of the FBI’s Forensic Division and later convinced a neighbor to quit his job and serve as her assistant, was sentenced on Friday. She will serve 30 days in prison, four months of house arrest and three years of probation. More from the Washington Examiner.
Cat Fight Breaks Out Over Roaming Pets — In June, the Sun Gazette ran a opinion piece from someone who wasn’t too happy with his neighbor’s cat roaming in his yard. “Do I need my neighbors’ cat in my backyard when my wife and daughter are allergic?” he asked. Now, courtesy of the Huffington Post, we get a counterpoint. Blogger Tamar Abrams is apparently the owner of the offending feline. She shoots back: “For the record, his dog has peed on my yard. His dog has barked many times. But I can’t imagine complaining about that.”
It was a tense eight hours for the Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation on Saturday. A van filled with two dozen dogs and four cats was supposed to be en route from the organization’s ranch in Fauquier County, Va. to an adoption event in Seven Corners, but contact with the driver was lost and the van never showed up.
The foundation reported the van stolen and posted a plea for information about its whereabouts on their Facebook page. After eight hours, the van and its driver, a foundation employee who had been on the job for eight months, were finally located at the Vienna, Va. branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“All the dogs and cats were fine,” foundation vice president Paul Blumberg said. “I think the humans were more distraught than the dogs.”
The van’s air conditioning had been on the entire time, preventing a potentially dangerous situation in the summer heat.
It’s still not clear what exactly happened. The employee said she got lost and her cell phone died, NBC4 reported.
Blumberg said he did not have a chance to talk with the employee, but she seemed upset. Since the animals were fine, and since officers did not suspect that the woman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police let her go home.
In the organization’s nine years in existence, nothing like this has ever happened, Blumberg said. He said the foundation’s board will discuss the incident and “see if there are any changes that need to be made.”
One such change may be putting a GPS tracking system in each of the organization’s vehicles, Blumberg said.
Despite the incident, the foundation was able to find homes for 49 dogs and cats this weekend.
Add Cause for Paws to the list. Taking place at The Bungalow in Shrlington (2766 South Arlington Mill Drive) from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, the event is being described as a “pet adoption charity auction.”
All proceeds will benefit the Arlington Animal Welfare League (see this post from Thursday for more about the kind of work being done by the League).
In addition to the auction, there will also be great specials, raffles and prizes.
Could you care for an special needs puppy or kitten for a few weeks, then have the heart to let it go? Even if he or she is as cute as Cooper? If so, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington needs your help.
They’re looking for “dedicated, energetic and patient foster parents to care for underage and underweight puppies and kittens, nursing mothers, and ill or injured animals.” From the listing on Volunteer Arlington:
Foster parents will care for shelter animals in their own homes on a temporary basis, typically between four and eight weeks. The foster program is flexible, and is open to all types of people, regardless of work schedule. The time commitment may range from a few days to a few weeks, from a few hours a day to round-the-clock care, depending upon the age and situation of each fosterling. The League will provide all supplies, necessary training, and veterinary care.
Prospective foster parents must be 18 or over. The only other requirement for the job is dedication and compassion.
If you’re interested, contact AWLA volunteer coordinator Lindsey Moon at 703-931-9241, ext. 245.
It’s not fair. You work hard, so why shouldn’t your freeloading furry friend?
Here’s the good news: there’s a part-time job opening just for Rover, Garfield, Polly, Peter Cottontail — or whoever is generally cute, friendly and disease-free.
The Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center (3710 Lee Highway) is looking for a few good pets to help relax and entertain its residents.
Successful candidates will be friendly and trained. They must have their shots and be willing to participate in a short test. And their owners must stay with them at all times while at the Center.
Interested animals (or owners) should contact Cherrydale volunteer coordinator Jennifer Lewis via phone at (703) 243-7640 or via email here.
Last month came the sad news for local pet owners: a.k.a. spot (2509 North Franklin Road) was closing. The off-the-beaten-path Clarendon pet store had a loyal following that immediately began mourning the loss of a true Arlington original.
The circumstances were even more somber. Lucy McCausland, the owner of a.k.a. spot, was moving to Florida to be closer to her family following the passing of her mother. After some soul-searching, she had decided that traveling back and forth between Florida and Arlington would not be feasible.
But last night McCausland made the bittersweet announcement. While a.k.a. spot was closing, its legacy of promoting pet wellness would be preserved.
Thanks to the intervention of one of a.k.a. spot’s vendors, another local pet retailer, Wylie Wagg, will take the store over, possibly as soon as mid-May.
In an email, Wylie Wagg co-owner Laura Clark said she and her husband, Larry, are excited that Clarendon will now be the location for their fourth store.
We feel very, very fortunate to be able to continue offering the kind of great service and products that Spot has offered for years. We were drawn to the opportunity because we so deeply respect what Spot has done for the community. Following Spot’s success and earning the trust and loyalty of their customers will be a very tall order and we’re committed to making sure that we honor the high standards they have set.
Additionally, we are dedicated to supporting animal rescue and will continue Spot’s tradition of working with adoption groups.
On a personal note, I used to live in Clarendon and absolutely loved being part of the neighborhood. When I had to leave because of a job relocation, it was very sad for me. I’m so happy that we’re opening Wylie Wagg in one of my very favorite places! This is so exciting for us!