Dr. Pepper, a 22-year-old cat, is in need of a new home.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington put out a call on social media on Wednesday in hopes of finding this very elderly, brown and black, domestic shorthaired kitty a welcoming place to nap and snack.
She was brought into the shelter about two weeks ago, Chelsea Jones of AWLA said, when her long-time caretaker had become too sick to care for her anymore.
Dr. Pepper was accompanied by a note that said she was the beloved companion of a cancer survivor, a Vietnam veteran, and her caretaker’s family for 22 years.
“We’re just all in tears over this cat and this poor family that, unfortunately, is having to be separated because of a really sad life situation,” says Jones. “We are flat determined to find this cat an amazing end-of-life home where she can be loved, pampered, and spoiled for however long she has left.”
However, Jones says she’s relatively healthy and only is in need of one pill a day for hyperthyroidism.
Her favorite things are napping, snacking, and getting attention.
“She is just so affectionate and so friendly… she wants to just have someone nearby,” says Jones. “To anyone who comes up to her kennel, she puts her paw up to the glass [like she’s] saying ‘hello’.”
While Dr. Pepper has her moments when she plays like a cat a quarter of her age, she mostly naps, asks for attention, and then goes back to laying down.
“She’s really an easy pet to own,” says Jones.
Since their social media call out about 24 hours ago, there’s been significant interest. Jones says Dr. Pepper has a number of appointments today to meet with prospective new caretakers, plus a foster family has already asked to care for her.
But there’s always room for more and there are plenty of other pets one can adopt at AWLA in case Dr. Pepper finds her forever home prior to your visit. Currently, the shelter remains by appointment only — to schedule an appointment on the League’s website, click the animal you’d like to visit and scroll down to schedule.
“It’s bittersweet,” says Jones. “But we’re going to make sure [she] has a happy ending.”
Update at 10:45 a.m. — Dr. Pepper has been adopted, according to AWLA.
Photo courtesy of Animal Welfare League of Arlington
Move over Jazz, there’s a new heir to the cute crown in Arlington.
On Easter Sunday at about 5 p.m., an adorable baby red fox — a kit — was caught on camera in the backyard of a residence in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Jamestown Elementary School.
Sally Granade was at Jamestown Park with her daughter when she got a call from her husband.
“He called and said ‘Oh, this baby fox has been staggering in the yard, I got a bowl of water and put it out and now it’s following me around,” Granade tells ARLnow.
Animal control officers arrived in less than 15 minutes, says Granade, and told the family the baby fox was neither sick or injured, simply very young and a bit lost.
It’s thought the kit had wandered from the den, which Granade now believes was under her shed, when mom was out of the house.
“It’s likely that the mom was either out hunting, or she was relocating her kits from one den to another, and the kit happened to make enough noise for the homeowners to notice him,” writes Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson.
AWLA believes the kit was only a few weeks old, meaning it was born in the litter season of late March to early April. They were unable to confirm the sex of the baby, though.
Animal control officers requested a four-sided box to gently place the fox in there, so that it couldn’t wander more and mom could find it when she arrived back.
All Granade had was a wicker basket, hence a cute video of the baby fox squawking in a basket.
The officers departed with a request to keep an eye out for the mother.
Sure enough, only about an hour or two later, the family spotted her.
“We saw what was probably the mother sulking around the background… and, by morning, the baby was gone,” says Granade.
Jones says that Granade and her family did exactly what they should have done, which was to not touch the wild animal and call the professionals immediately.
“It’s very important that the public NEVER touch a wild animal unless they absolutely have to because there are zoonotic diseases that can pass from animal to human,” writes Jones. “If you have to touch the animal (it’s in a very dangerous spot, it’s severely injured, etc.), it’s very important to wear thick gloves or use a towel.”
Foxes are certainly not uncommon in Arlington, but in the past year AWLA has received more calls about them and other wildlife. This has more do with humans than the animals.
“We have had more wildlife calls overall in the past year because so many more people are home during the day and seeing more wildlife that they would normally miss because they are at work,” writes Jones.
This is the time of the year that kits begin venturing out of the dens, so it’s normal to spot them in mid-April, Jones notes.
In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, however, if they have rabies, they can be dangerous to pets. While they’re fun to watch, do it a safe distance to keep foxes, pets, and humans all safe, Jones says.
For Granade, it was a memorable Easter Sunday evening for her and her family, helping to reunite a baby fox with its mom.
“I was really impressed with the good job that the Animal Welfare League did,” she says. “They even came back to get the basket.”
Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook
APS to Offer Coronavirus Testing — “Beginning the week of April 19, APS will begin providing free medical testing for students and staff who are symptomatic, or who have been exposed to COVID-19. Walk-up testing will be conducted after school hours with parent/guardian consent. Walk-up testing sites at Glebe Elementary, Kenmore Middle and Wakefield High Schools provide trained staff to assist in mid-nasal swab testing using the RT-PCR test after school hours.” [Arlington Public Schools]
New DCA Concourse Opening Next Week — “The shuttle buses will soon be relocated to Philadelphia. And the air stairs, no more. After nearly 25 years, officials at Reagan National Airport on Thursday unveiled a much-anticipated addition, a sleek 14-gate concourse that will mark the end of operations of the much-maligned Gate 35X. American Airlines will begin service Tuesday out of the new concourse.” [Washington Post, NBC 4, DCist]
Group Rallies for Affordable Housing –“I’m at a rally hosted by the ACE Collaborative, community organizers who work with Asian American residents in Arlington. They’re in [Pentagon City] this evening, asking the county to take steps to end displacement as rents rise. In the immediate term, the group is calling for the county to add $8 million to its housing grant program in the next budget.” [Twitter]
Animal Control Saves Turtle — “We need to thank Officer Davis for helping this snapping turtle, who was trying to cross I-395 during rush hour. Thankfully, she was able to safely remove him, bring him to the shelter for a check-up, and then release him back into the wild where he belongs!” [Twitter]
Vihstadt Helps ‘Our Revolution’ Join CivFed — “One of the strongest voices supporting ORA’s membership was that of John Vihstadt, former County Board member and life-long Republican. Many Republicans today consider organizations such as Our Revolution to be, at the very least, card-carrying members of ‘Antifa’… Vihstadt pointed out that, ‘although he was one of the ‘non-Democrats’ that One Revolution did not support’ in his last political outing, ORA should be admitted to CivFed because it clearly ‘contributes to the civic dialogue.'” [Blue Virginia]
Ballston Business Slated to Go Public — “Privia Health Group, Inc., a technology-driven, national physician enablement company that collaborates with medical groups, health plans and health systems, announced today that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock… Privia Health intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ‘PRVA.'” [BusinessWire]
ACPD Raising Child Abuse Awareness — “April is recognized as both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. ACPD is sharing information on available resources and programs in our community to help raise public awareness about child abuse and sexual violence. In support of efforts to reduce the incidences and severity of child abuse and neglect, many members of ACPD are wearing blue ribbons, pins and bracelets during the month of April.” [ACPD, Twitter]
Animal Control Helps Lost Baby Fox — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “A local homeowner heard a tiny cry coming from their garden and discovered this baby fox, alone and crying for his mother… Knowing that his mom was very likely somewhere nearby, [animal control officers] placed him into a basket and placed him in a safe spot in the garden. The homeowner kept an eye on him the rest of the day, and we are happy to report that by the next morning, the mother had safely retrieved her baby!” [Facebook]
Goodbye, DCA Gate 35X — “Let’s get right to it: It was a bus station. A bus station in an airport. It was two places you’d rather not be, melded into one place… It was a funnel, a choke point, a cattle call. One gate, as many as 6,000 travelers per day. The ceilings were lower. The seats were all taken, as were the electrical outlets. There was no bathroom down there, no vending machine, no water fountain. Dante’s circles were over-invoked.” [Washington Post]
‘Arlington Superwoman’ Hailed — “She’s helped tons of local families get food on the table but her calling to give back goes way beyond food insecurity for those who are struggling during the pandemic. To some, this Arlington immigrant from El Salvador is a local hero. The struggle Mariflor Ventura has seen first hand brings her to tears.” [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
During AWLA’s week-long Home Run Adoption Event, adoption fees will be cut in half for dogs six months and older to encourage potential adoptive parents to step up to the plate. Tomorrow (Saturday) through Friday, April 9, people can take home dogs under 25 pounds for $137, adult dogs for $100 and dogs 10 years and older for $87.
The shelter is reaching capacity and soon expects more dogs to arrive, Chelsea Jones, a spokeswoman said.
“Our dog kennels are very full, and with dog transports arriving next week, we really need to get our current dogs adopted to make room for the new dogs coming in from shelters in need in Texas,” Jones said. “Many of our dogs have also been with us for quite a while now, and it’s high time they found their homes.”
Some shelters in Texas are still dealing with the after-effects of the February storms and cold weather that knocked out power to much of the state, she said. Meanwhile, shelters nationwide are entering their busy season, when the number of animals needing shelter begins to rise.
“We get requests every day from shelters and rescues in need of transfer partners, and we always want to help if we are able to,” Jones said.
One year into the pandemic, which prompted many people to combat isolation with new furry friends, it seems adoption rates have come down, she said.
“We are still very busy with adoptions but not quite at the same level as a year ago,” Jones said. “We also seem to have some dogs who are having trouble finding their families and have been with us for a while — they just haven’t found their person yet, but we hope they will this weekend.”
Photos courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is overflowing with a whole warren’s worth of adoptable rabbits.
Chelsea Jones, senior communications specialist for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, said the shelter has eight rabbits currently up for adoption. Jones said there’s no particular reason for the increase, just “luck of the draw” — which makes sense considering that’s 32 lucky feet.
The search for a new home for the rabbits comes as Jones said an adoption surge that started at the beginning of the pandemic starts to wind down.
“At the beginning of 2020 they were going faster than usual, but that’s slowed down a little bit as people start going back to work,” Jones said. “But smaller animals: guinea pigs, rabbits, rats — they’re still going quicker [than before].”
Rabbits have been particularly popular adoptions over the last year, Jones said, because they make perfect quarantine companions, provided the owner can spend time with them and bunny-proof the house.
“Anyone can have a rabbit, really,” Jones said. “They’re such a wonderful pet to own. We do want to make sure that people know having a rabbit isn’t like having a hamster or a pet mouse. Rabbits require a lot of time with their people, just like a dog or cat.”
Jones said it can be harder to find a home for the larger, more cat or dog-sized rabbits like Katie, who stay in the shelter longer as adopters come in with the more traditional, smaller rabbit in mind.
One of the concerns in the rabbit community is that families will adopt rabbits around Easter without taking the time to appreciate or understand the requirements behind them, but Jones said they haven’t found this to be the case at AWLA.
“The good thing is: our shelter has never had an issue with someone just adopting a rabbit for Easter,” Jones said. “It’s a little bit of a… we call them shelter myths. There’s a lot of fear around certain subjects, like rabbits at Easter or black cats at Halloween, but there’s not a lot of data to back up that it happens more around Easter.”
One recommendation Jones does make is that parents should not go into adopting a rabbit thinking it will make a great first pet for a child because it’s small.
“We tell parents: a pet for kids is really a pet for you,” Jones said. “Make sure you want the rabbit as well. And in talking to kids, depending on the age, you have to tell them to be gentle with the rabbit and what to expect in their behavior. Kids want to cuddle and pet it, but that’s not always what a rabbit wants.”
For those who invest in their rabbit, though, the results can be rewarding in a way that’s different from affection from a cat or dog.
“They are not a predator animal,” Jones said. “We’re so used to living with predators, like cats and dogs, but people forget an animal like a rabbit is a prey animal. They behave and interact differently. When you first get that sign of affection, it’s so rewarding. They can be affectionate and snuggly, but with a rabbit you have to work for it. Once they get comfortable, they have amazing personalities.”
A full list of small, adoptable mammals — including rabbits — is available online with potential adopters able to schedule meet-and-greets with the pets.
With FRK9 Brooks as its mascot, the Arlington County Police Department is hosting a “Fill the Cruiser” pet supply drive to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
“FRK9 Brooks has a case of puppy love and is asking for your help ensuring his furry valentines at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington have the supplies they need,” a press release said. “For more than 75 years, AWLA has served the Arlington community with animal sheltering and control services to help pet owners keep their animals healthy, happy, and home.”
The drive, this Friday, Feb. 12 from 2-5 p.m., will be held at a contactless, drive-through donation station set up outside the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on the 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive.
FRK9 Brooks, who turned one in November, is being trained for this. A police service dog, his responsibilities include participating in community outreach events and helping officers deal with “strong emotions and stress that are often an inherent part of policing,” ACPD said back in August.
Suggested donations include cleaning supplies, treats, Vienna sausages, Easy Cheese, toys, pill pockets, leashes, and buckle collars. A full list of supplies AWLA can accept is available on its website.
AWLA cannot accept pillows, sheets, comforters, plastic dishes, used cat scratchers, towers, trees and litter boxes, used or extra-large dog beds or prescription medications.
On arriving, participants are asked to stay in their cars until they reach the unloading areas. Officers will be on-hand to remove donations from their vehicles.
There will be a separate area available for those arriving by bike or on foot.
Photos #1-3 from the file, photo #4 via Arlington County
As if the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, there’s now an apparent rabies outbreak in Arlington County.
Two days after the county warned of a possible rabies exposure in the East Falls Church neighborhood, animal control has captured two additional raccoons “showing neurological signs consistent with rabies.”
The raccoons were both captured in residential north Arlington neighborhoods: one on the 4300 block of 37th Road N., in the Old Glebe neighborhood near Glebe Road Park and the Gulf Branch Nature Center, and another on the 5100 block of 37th Road N., in the Rock Spring neighborhood near Williamsburg Middle School.
“On February 4, 2021, Arlington County Animal Control responded to two separate incidents for raccoons,” the county said in a press release. “Both of the raccoons in these incidents were captured and removed by animal control; both raccoons were showing neurological signs consistent with rabies. One of these raccoons may have had contact with two pets.”
“This outbreak is no longer contained to a specific neighborhood,” the press release warned, also citing the East Falls Church incident from Jan. 30, in which a rabid raccoon came into contact with a pet.
“We are urging residents in North Arlington to be vigilant,” said Kurt Larrick, a county spokesman. “We ask that residents ensure their pets are up to date on their rabies vaccines, keep their dogs on a leash, keep cats inside, remain vigilant and alert, and do not approach or interact with any wild animals.”
Rabies, as described in the press release, “is a disease that people and animals can catch from the bite or scratch of infected animals. It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.”
“If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with any wild animals including bats or raccoons, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately,” the press release says. “If calling after hours, please stay on the line to speak with the answering service who will alert an Officer. If you see a raccoon that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive, do NOT approach the animal and please call Animal Control immediately.”
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The Arlington man accused of throwing dogs over an apartment balcony to their death would potentially not serve additional jail time under a proposed plea agreement.
The agreement, dated December 7, is signed by the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, but not by the defendant or by his court-appointed attorney Adam Krischer.
ARLnow reached out to Krischer about the status of the agreement, who responded via email that he has no comment. We obtained a copy of the document upon request from the Arlington County Circuit Court, after receiving an anonymous tip about the potential plea agreement.
On January 5, according to documents provided, 27-year-old Zachary changed his “not guilty” plea to “guilty” — while asserting his innocence, in what is known as an Alford plea — for the charge of animal cruelty.
(ARLnow has decided to withhold the defendant’s last name from this article, despite it being publicly reported in previous articles, due to the mental health-related matters discussed in the plea agreement.)
The judge approved the plea and set the sentencing for February 12. The judge also required the defendant to undergo a substance abuse screening prior to sentencing.
Animal cruelty is a felony offense that carries a 1-5 year prison sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. The proposed plea agreement, however, calls for defer disposition for two years, meaning the plea to the felony charge could be withdrawn and dismissed if the defendant adheres to certain conditions.
According to the agreement, those conditions include completing substance abuse evaluation and treatment, undergoing mental health evaluation and counseling, remaining medication compliant, and completing 100 hours of community service.
The defendant also has to remain drug and alcohol free, refrain from owning any animals, and not to have any unsupervised contact with animals beyond those owned by family members.
Additionally, he has to pay restitution of about $1,800, including payments to the owner of one of the dogs that was killed and $567.29 to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
If Zachary does all of that, the proposed plea agreement states, the Commonwealth and the defendant will jointly ask the court to withdraw the guilty plea and provide an order of dismissal. If the defendant doesn’t adhere to the above conditions, he could be sent to prison.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Taft was elected in 2019 to be Arlington’s top prosecutor on a platform of reform and restorative justice. In an interview with Arlington Magazine last March, Dehghani-Taft said that the concept of restorative justice is about healing and taking responsibility.
“It asks the person who did the harm to search for change and transforms them into someone who doesn’t do it again,” she said. “It focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment.”
It’s a concept that also has gained popularity in other local jurisdictions.
When asked for comment about the plea agreement, Dehghani-Taft responded via email that rules “constrains me from making public statements about pending cases… Because the court has not yet accepted any plea, it could be seen as prejudicial for me to say something now.”
In a follow-up email, she stated that “I think the terms in the document the court has published are self-explanatory.”
A statement of facts about the case entered in court describes the April 27, 2020 incident in more detail.
Police responded to a call about two dogs being thrown off a fifth floor balcony of the Meridian apartment building at 1401 N. Taft Street in Courthouse. One belonged to the defendant and the other to his roommate. Both dogs were brought to veterinary facilities and later died from their injuries.
Zachary was detained without incident, but told the officers that he was diagnosed with anxiety and had not been taking his medication. He also said that he had recently smoked marijuana.
The reason for his actions, he told police, was that he wanted to repair his relationship with his roommate and felt the only way to do that was to kill the dogs.
Police spoke to the roommate and Zachary’s boyfriend, who both described the defendant as not acting like his normal self over the prior several days and possibly having a severe mental health crisis at the time.
Photo via Google Maps
A potentially rabid raccoon with a taste for human flesh is on the loose in the Donaldson Run neighborhood.
The raccoon bit a person last week on the 4200 block of 25th Street N., two blocks from Taylor Elementary School, according to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. It ran off and “has not been located.”
Two other raccoons with rabies-like symptoms have been removed from the neighborhood by animal control officers over the past month, AWLA said.
Arlington residents, particularly those in the Donaldson Run area, are being encouraged to remain vigilant.
“If you or your pet may have come into contact with any wild animals including bats or raccoons, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately, after hours please stay on the line to speak with the answering service who will alert an officer,” the organization said last night in a statement.
“If you see a raccoon that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive, do NOT approach the animal and please call Animal Control immediately: 703-931-9241.”
Important notice for Arlington residents: pic.twitter.com/VDODJJZza9
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) December 29, 2020
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
BBC Airs Segment on AFAC — The Arlington Food Assistance Center, which is seeing record food need and lines throughout the day, was profiled in a segment that aired on BBC World News this week. [Twitter]
Fares to Return on ART Buses — “ART buses will resume front door boarding and fare collection starting on Sunday, January 3, 2021. Riders will begin boarding buses through the front door and will pay their fare at the fare box using a SmarTrip card or exact change. The regular ART bus fare for a one-way trip is $2.00.” [Arlington Transit]
Teens Launch Hot Cocoa Company — “In July, Wakefield High School rising seniors Farah Bahr and Sithiya Reshmee (who goes by the nickname ‘Resh’) founded F&R Sweets, a line that includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, churro cheesecake (made with croissant dough, cream cheese filling and cinnamon sugar) and hot chocolate bombs… the bombs ($3-$10 each) grabbed my attention. They are bonbon-like orbs filled with mini marshmallows, Swiss Miss cocoa mix (regular, caramel or peppermint) and sometimes other add-ins.” [Arlington Magazine]
AWLA Treats Dog With Skin Condition — “On Sunday, we were very surprised when a brown-eyed dog with a severe skin infection and hair loss came through our doors. He desperately needs us, and together we can start him on the path to healing. Rufus was found all alone on the side of the road and was brought to AWLA for help.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Patch]
Fort Myer Bowling Alley Back Open — “The [Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall] Bowling Center had a small grease fire last week that temporarily shut down operations. Today, the fire department and health inspections were completed and they were given approval to re-open at 2 p.m.” [Twitter]
Arlington is Soldier’s Resting Place, At Last — “An Army sergeant from Panama, Oklahoma who was killed during the Korean War has been identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency,” from the 55 boxes containing remains of American service members turned over by North Korea in 2018. “Rodgers will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, at a later date that has yet to be determined.” [Times Record]