(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) An Arlington resident found a snake — a juvenile Yellow Anaconda, to be exact — in an apartment toilet last week.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington recounted the surprise find in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. It happened, at an apartment building on 31st Street S. — in the Shirlington area.
“We do not know for certain how the snake got to this particular toilet but it is highly likely that it is someone’s pet that was either abandoned or escaped from an improperly shut vivarium,” said AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Lindsey. “The snake (named Sir Hiss) would have then gone into the plumbing looking for food.”
No one was injured and the snake was safely removed from the apartment and taken to AWLA’s shelter. The organization says they have subsequently found a specialist to care for it.
“We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake,” AWLA advised. “Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 lbs.”
More from the AWLA post:
It’s never a dull day in Arlington County Animal Control! Last week, our Animal Control team received a call about a snake in the toilet of a local apartment. Officer Brenys White was able to safely remove the snake from the toilet and brought him back to the shelter. We were all in for a bit of a surprise — we were expecting him to be a wild snake or a ball python, but the snake is, in fact, a juvenile Yellow Anaconda!
Luckily, we were able to find a specialist who is familiar with his species and will be able to give him the care that he needs. We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake. Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13ft long and weigh more than 100lbs. They need specialized care and housing, and while they are non-venomous, can be dangerous when they reach full size and are not well-socialized. Plus, no one likes being surprised by a lost and confused snake in their toilet! We are glad that in this circumstance we were able to rescue this snake, and that he did not make it out of the apartment complex and into the wild. Thank you to Officer Brenys for rescuing the snake and our specialist for giving him a new home!
Photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington
Wardian Wins Vegas Marathon Dressed Like Elvis — Not only did Arlington’s own marathoning superhero Michael Wardian, 42, win the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon over the weekend, but he did it while dressed like Elvis Presley. Wardian even set a world record for the fastest marathon while dressed like the King, at 2:38:04. [Las Vegas Review-Journal, Competitor]
Fox Rescued from Construction Pit — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington rescued a fox from a large pit at a construction site on Monday. The fox was cold and muddy but uninjured; it was released back to “a quiet patch of trees nearby.” [Facebook]
APS Accused of Poor Communication — Arlington Public Schools is “a great school district,” says Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews, but it has communicated “poorly” regarding the potential for middle schools to move to block scheduling. [Washington Post]
Reminder: Preventing Sewer Backups — Ahead of the holiday season, Arlington County is reminding residents to avoid sending fats, oils and grease down the drain. The “FOG” from cooking and cleaning can clog home sewer lines and lead to catastrophic sewage backups. [Arlington County]
I-395 Issues on Monday — I-395 in the District was briefly blocked by anti-Trump protesters yesterday afternoon, leading to some backups. Later, a multi-vehicle crash near the Route 1 exit in Arlington blocked multiple lanes during the evening rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Rocky Run Park, apparently.
A chicken was found in the park, on N. Barton Street in the Clarendon-Courthouse area, by an animal control officer Thursday. No one seems to know how the chicken got there.
An Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman said stray chickens are actually more common in Arlington than one might think.
“We periodically pick up chickens ‘running at large,'” said Susan Sherman.
She said the chicken will be housed at the animal shelter for a couple of days before being shipped off to live out its days on a farm.
“It is being cared for at the shelter as a stray until November 6,” said Sherman. “If it is not claimed by an owner by that date, then we can adopt it to a person with a farm or transfer it to a farm sanctuary.”
“We do not send the chicken to any place where it would be eaten,” Sherman noted. “In our experience stray chickens are almost never reclaimed by owners since very few Arlington residents have the property to keep chickens legally.”
— AWLA Arlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) November 3, 2016
The suspicious meatballs found by a dog owner in Bluemont Park have been tested and all the tests for harmful substances came back negative, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington says.
“The lab tested for anticoagulants (which would cause massive internal bleeding) and organic chemicals including pesticides, therapeutic and illicit drugs, euthanasia agents and environmental contaminants,” said AWLA’s Susan Sherman. “All tests were negative.”
A dog owner found the meatballs along Four Mile Run earlier this month and took to an email listserv to warn fellow residents of a possible poisoning attempt. She said her dog ate at least one of the meatballs; she immediately took the dog to a vet to induce vomiting.
AWLA says it is still trying to figure out why the meatballs were placed along the stream. The organization is urging dog owners to stay vigilant.
“We still don’t know how the meat patties got there or what the intention was,” Sherman said. “We will be posting information on our website and on Facebook advising residents to keep their dogs on leash and to be aware of their environment to avoid a dog ingesting any unknown substance. If anyone finds something suspicious like the meat patties, call animal control at 703-931-9241.”
The latest attack happened Sunday night on the 4800 block of 28th Street S.
“Last night my husband and I were in our living room when we heard HORRIFIC screams coming from outside,” a resident wrote. “We went outside and learned a woman was being attacked by a ‘cute’ raccoon. The paramedics were called.”
Raccoons usually don’t attack humans unless they are rabid or defending their young. So far, authorities have not warned about the Fairlington raccoons potentially being rabid, although victims have received rabies shots.
The latest attack followed another incident in June, in which a raccoon attacked a woman and her dog, prompting a community meeting. That attack was said to be the result of a raccoon defending its young against the dog.
A third raccoon attack in Fairlington was reported last August.
Sunday’s attack came just two days after a nearby resident posted photos of a raccoon family of five on her third floor balcony; reaction to the photos was split between those who found the raccoons adorable and those who found the encounter terrifying.
WJLA’s Stephen Tschida reported on the attack during last night’s 11 p.m. news broadcast. Two raccoons “jumped on [the victim] and mauled and scratched her head, arm, and her leg,” Tschida reported. The broadcast showed a photo of a raccoon attack victim with numerous deep, bloody gouges on her arm.
Since the attack was first reported, at least one other raccoon sighting has been posted to Facebook.
“We were just walking our dog and spotted two raccoons in the parking lot where our neighbor was attacked yesterday,” a resident wrote. “They were on the front porch of a building and weren’t even bothered by the porch lights. One of them made a loud screeching sound then they scurried away. Please be careful if you are outside!”
“Something needs to be done,” said another resident in response, echoing the sentiment of others. However, the Facebook chatter has split those who want the raccoons to be trapped and euthanized and those seeking a more humane solution.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, meanwhile, says it is encouraging the management of Fairlington’s condo associations to re-examine its trash collection system. Currently, residents are instructed to leave bags of trash out in front of their homes in the morning for collection. Still, some ignore the instructions and take out the trash at night.
“The latest attack involved raccoons foraging in trash bags that were left out at night for pickup the following day,” said AWLA’s Susan Sherman. “We have advised Fairlington’s management that the way to curb future attacks is to make sure that all trash is secured in closed bins rather than being left on the curb in plastic bags.”
“Residents should keep their distance from wildlife and should keep their immediate outdoor area free of attractions such as trash, pet food, and bird feeders,” Sherman added.
AWLA is also directing residents to a recap of the July meeting it held in Fairlington on the topic of human and wildlife interactions.
Photo (bottom) by Lilia Ward
Next SafeTrack Surge Begins Tomorrow — Metro’s ninth SafeTrack maintenance “surge” will begin tomorrow and will result in single-tracking between the Vienna and West Falls Church station on the Orange Line through Oct. 26. Riders should expect longer wait times on the Orange Line; in Arlington, the East Falls Church station is expected to experience the worst delays. [DCist, NBC Washington]
Fire Dept. to Donate to AWLA — Arlington County fire stations collected more than 650 pounds of pet supplies and food during ‘Operation FirePaws.’ The items will be donated to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Additions for Phoenix House — Following a successful capital fundraising campaign, substance abuse rehabilitation facility Phoenix House, in Ballston, will be adding a new fitness and health center and expanding and renovating its adolescent boys program.
A History of the Balls — ‘Our Man in Arlington’ columnist recounts the history of the Ball family, local landowners since the Revolutionary War and the namesakes for Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
On Thursday, a local mother wrote to a local email listserv to warn about meatballs her dog scarfed up along Four Mile Run in Bluemont Park. The meatballs, she said, contained what her vet thought was rat poison. (The vet was able to quickly induce vomiting and the dog is expected to be okay.)
The story quickly made its way around other local listservs and attracted the attention of Fox 5, which interviewed the dog owner.
“For me, it’s a sick psychopath or something like that,” Natascha Weber told Fox 5’s Lauren DeMarco. “I have no idea why somebody would do something like that.”
AWLA is testing the meatballs, the organization’s COO, Susan Sherman, told ARLnow.com Friday.
“We received a call [Thursday] afternoon from a resident who thinks her dog may have ingested poisoned meat while they were walking in Bluemont Park at the intersection of Four Mile Run trail, near the stream,” Sherman said. “The dog owner gathered some of the meat and kept it refrigerated. We are picking up the sample now and will send it to a lab for testing.”
As of Tuesday morning, Sherman said the testing was still in progress and it will likely be a week before we know what exactly was in the meat.
The original listserv email is below.
My daughter and I were walking our dogs today at Four Mile Run/Bluemont Park in Arlington, because we like the paths next to the stream. On our way back to the car, the dogs were wading in the water and when they got out, Yoko found something to eat. I wasn’t able to pull her away fast enough so she ate a good amount. I took a closer look and discovered more than 10 poison baits right next to the stream on and between the rocks (raw ground beef meatballs, mixed with all kind of pills, pellets and grain). Obviously we got her back to our car as fast as possible and went to the animal hospital straight away.
The vet made her vomit and since it was only 15-20 minutes between eating the stuff and the treatment in the hospital, she was confident, that she got everything out of Yoko’s stomach. The vet is 99% sure that it’s rat poison. We reported everything to Animal Control/Animal Welfare in Arlington, got back to Bluemont Park and collected the rest of the toxic baits…
I am absolutely shocked about this incident and hope that Yoko will recover completely. And of course I hope that no other dog was harmed by this crime of a maniac. So please (!!!) watch out when you are walking your dog(s) in that area but I guess, that can happen everywhere.
If you have an idea what else we could do (besides reporting it to Animal Control), I’d appreciate any advice. I know it’s unlikely to find this criminal but I am ready to do everything to increase the chances.
An animal control officer found the raccoon, oddly, in a cardboard box with a water bowl.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is asking those who may have had contact with the animal — or those whose pets may have had contact with it — to contact them.
From the AWLA:
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington seeks information about any people or pets who may have had physical exposure to a raccoon that has tested positive for rabies. An animal control officer found a sick raccoon in a cardboard box left on the street in the 1000 block of North Manchester Street on August 23, 2016. The box also contained a plastic bowl of water. The raccoon was brought to the animal shelter where it was humanely euthanized. When it was sent for testing, the raccoon was positive for rabies. We ask that anyone who may have had contact or whose pets may have had contact with any raccoon in that vicinity, please call the League at 703-931-9241.
Throughout the month of August, the Arlington County Fire Department will be holding a donation drive for pet supplies.
Items on the shelter’s need list include canned pet food, collars, toys, and office supplies. AWLA has requested no Milk Bones, boxed hard treats or handmade items.
The items can be dropped off at the following fire stations:
- Fire Station 2 at 4805 Wilson Blvd
- Fire Station 3 at 4100 Old Dominion Drive
- Fire Station 5 at 1750 S Hayes Street
- Fire Station 6 at 6950 Little Falls Road
- Fire Station 7 at 3116 S. Abingdon Street
- Fire Station 9 at 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
Donation bins will be in the lobby of each fire station and items can be dropped off from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Donations collected before August 27 will be presented to the AWLA at its Wags n Whiskers event in Shirlington however donations will be collected until August 31.
Photo Courtesy of ACFD
Ultimate Frisbee at APS — The Arlington School Board is expected to vote to make Ultimate Frisbee an official co-curricular sport in middle schools and high schools. Arlington is already a hotbed of Ultimate play at the high school club level. It’s likely to be years before the sport is recognized by the Virginia High School League, the statewide intramural sports governing body. [InsideNova*]
Development Before and After — A series of before and after photos, via Google Street View, show some of the more dramatic changes from the last decade of development in Arlington. [Rent Cafe]
Local White Supremacist Quoted — The Associated Press yesterday quoted Richard Spencer, a 38-year-old white supremacist who reportedly lives in Arlington and believes that African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews should be removed from the United States. Spencer, an alt-right figure, attended the Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
Few Proven Towing Violations — Out of 18,642 trespass tows in Arlington last year, only 7 — or 0.04 percent — were found by authorities to have violated local towing ordinances. [InsideNova*]
Watts Finishes Another Race — Jamie Watts, a fixture in the local running scene, has finished another race. Watts, who has cerebral palsy, completed Saturday night’s Crystal City Twilighter 5K despite sweltering conditions. [WUSA 9*]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley.
*Denotes website that employs pop-up ads, autoplay video or other disruptions to the user experience.
The dog, naturally, went after the critters. The raccoon mom fought back. The woman tried to intervene to protect her dog. Her screams alerted neighbors, who found her bloodied with big gashes on her arm. Medics, police and animal control were called, and the woman was taken to the hospital for treatment and rabies shots.
“Our Animal Control officers were called about this situation, and responded to the location with the Police Department,” confirmed Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman Chelsea Lindsey. “They searched but could not find the raccoon. We think the raccoon may have had babies with her, and become protective when she was confronted by the dog and then the dog’s owner.”
The incident has some Fairlington residents on edge, wondering if such an attack could happen to them or their pets. The raccoon, after all, is still on the loose.
On Tuesday, July 5, at 7 p.m. AWLA will be holding a community meeting “to discuss and advise residents on interaction and conflicts with wildlife.” The meeting is being held at the Fairlington Villages Community Center (3005 S. Abingdon Street).
“This meeting is being held in light of the injury recently suffered by a resident resulting from an encounter with a raccoon,” says the event’s Facebook page.
Lindsey said that it’s somewhat rare for raccoons to attack dogs or humans, but it does happen.
In September 2013, ARLnow.com reported on a pregnant woman who was repeatedly bitten by an aggressive raccoon in her East Falls Church backyard, as her daughter watched in horror.
“We get reports of raccoons in altercations with dogs somewhat regularly, but contact with people is rare,” she said. “In the last 12 months we have had one other report of a raccoon bite to a person in Fairlington, and it was in August 2015.”
“Healthy raccoons are unlikely to pick a fight with a dog, but dogs sometimes chase them, and sick/injured raccoons and mothers protecting their young may fight back to defend itself,” Lindsey said. “AWLA highly recommends making sure to feed your dog inside (as food left outdoors can attract raccoons) and not to allow your dog in your yard or outdoors without immediate supervision. We also recommend that all dogs (and cats) have an up-to-date rabies vaccine, as is required by state law.”
“While raccoons are primarily nocturnal and residents won’t typically see them during the day, it is not that unusual for them to roam outside during the day looking for food or sunning themselves,” Lindsey added. “It is best to simply leave raccoons alone if you see them outside. However, if one appears to be sick (staggering, walking in circles, falling, biting itself, salivating heavily), injured or if you find a deceased raccoon on your property, we recommend calling Animal Control immediately so they can investigate.”
Photo by Bastique via Wikipedia
On Wednesday we reported that a cat and her kittens were living on top of Gunston Middle School. Today we’re happy to report that the kittens have been successfully removed from the roof.
After a bit of an impasse with Arlington Public Schools officials, yesterday animal control officers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington were able to find a way to safely get to the roof, capture the kittens and get them back down from the roof.
AWLA detailed the process in a Facebook post last night.
We are happy to report that the kittens have been safely removed from the roof and are in our care here at the shelter!
We were made aware of this little family after a young student saw the kittens outside his classroom window and called the shelter. The mother cat was able to freely come and go from the flat roof, and had decided that it was the safest spot for her kittens!
Because the mother cat is feral, we needed to wait to remove her kittens until they were old enough to eat on their own and not rely on her for survival. Typically our officers do not climb onto roofs for safety reasons, but after we were informed that there was a secured ladder on the side of the building, the officers knew they had to help. And so Operation Roof Kitten Rescue began!
Officers Corcoran, Solano and Dispatcher Barrett were able to capture the fearful kittens in a net and transfer them to a carrier. They created a harness made of leashes so that Officer Solano could “wear” the carrier as she descended the ladder.
The kittens are now the perfect age for socializing: old enough to eat on their own, but young enough to learn to enjoy human contact. They will now go to a foster home until they are old enough and friendly enough for adoption. Thank you to everyone who assisted us in this rescue!
What will happen to the kittens’ mother? AWLA also answered that on the Facebook post.
When it comes to feral kittens there’s a delicate balance between leaving them with their mothers vs taking them into the shelter. If we leave them with the mother until they are completely grown and leave her on their own, they will be too old to socialize and adopt out – they will be feral like their mother, and then those kittens will grow and have more kittens of their own, leading to a larger and larger population of feral cats in the area. The officers and shelter staff feel that it’s in the best interests of the mother and kittens to remove them at this time. As stated above, the officers are looking options for the mother cat. We can assure you that the welfare of both the kittens and mother are what we are most concerned about.
The feline family recently took up residence on the school’s roof, apparently after the cat climbed a tree to get there.
Both APS and AWLA want to get the cat and kittens down from the roof, but are still formulating a plan for how to do it.
“We think that the mother cat is feral, and we want to capture the kittens while they are young enough to be socialized,” said AWLA’s Susan Sherman. “Once the kittens are old enough to get down from the roof on their own, they will likely be too old to socialize.”
Sherman said an AWLA animal control officer has been to the school “several times” to talk to officials from the school and the attached Gunston Community Center. One sticking point is deciding who’s going to go up on the roof. School workers don’t want to get attacked by the cat and animal control officers don’t want to play Spiderman.
“We offered to assist the school facilities people to set a humane trap on the roof, but they said the mother cat might attack them,” Sherman explained. “Our officers do not climb up on roofs. The part of the roof the cats are on is flat, and we requested access from classroom windows but the school facilities person told us the windows cannot be unscrewed or removed.”
“We are working on a plan to capture the kittens as soon as possible but want to do it in a way that is safe for the cats and people,” she said.
An Arlington animal control officer rescued six baby ducks from a storm drain Monday morning.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which provides animal control services in the county, announced the duckling rescue via Twitter yesterday.
Here’s what happened, according to AWLA’s Chelsea Lindsey.
Officer Corcoran was called out this morning for six ducklings who had fallen through the grates of a storm drain. Officer Corcoran was able to use a large net to get all six ducklings out of the water at the bottom. She put them in a crate and waited nearby for the mother to come back, but she never returned, so Officer Corcoran brought them back to the shelter and they were taken to a wildlife rehabber in Falls Church who will care for them until they are old enough to be released back into the wild.
Photo courtesy @AWLAArlington
The organization is asking anyone who has had contact — or whose pet has had contact — with the raccoon to call them.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington seeks information about any people or pets who may have had physical exposure to a raccoon that has tested positive for rabies. An animal control officer picked up a dead raccoon in the 1800 block of N. Underwood Street near Benjamin Banneker Park on March 21. When it was sent for testing, the raccoon was positive for rabies. We ask that anyone who may have had contact or whose pets may have had contact with any raccoon in that vicinity, please call the League at 703-931-9241.