Metro Delays This Morning — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A disabled train outside of the Pentagon Metro station caused significant delays on the Blue and Yellow lines during part of this morning’s rush hour. Meanwhile, a signal problem outside of the Rosslyn station caused delays on the Orange and Silver lines at the tail end of the rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]]
Arlington Men Charged With Murder — Updated at 10:40 a.m. — Two young Arlington men have been arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of a Silver Spring man. Police say the Arlington men, ages 19 and 21, and a 19-year-old Maryland man went to the victim’s house to rob him of marijuana. [WTOP, Washington Post]
Crystal City Library to Remain Open For Another Year — The “popup” library in the Crystal City Shops will remain open through June 2018, Arlington County announced this morning. Newly-renamed landlord JBG Smith reached an agreement with the county to keep it open, according to a press release. [Arlington County]
ACPD Releases Video With Talking Dog — The first Arlington County Police Department video promoting an upcoming public safety block party has been released, and it’s “narrated” by one of ACPD’s K-9 units. A highly-anticipated video featuring ACPD officers doing synchronized swimming has yet to be released. [YouTube]
Volunteer Arlington Awards — Earlier this week, the group Volunteer Arlington handed out its 2017 Volunteer Arlington Awards, celebrating dedicated volunteers in categories like “lifetime of service award,” “distinguished corporate service award,” and “distinguished county service award.” [Volunteer Arlington]
Clever Signs at AWLA — A sign outside of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in Shirlington is using pop culture references to help build demand for pet adoptions at the shelter. The latest: “They want to watch Game of Thrones too.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A week after a woman was attacked by a raccoon, requiring 87 stitches, another attack happened in Fairlington this morning, according to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
The incident happened on the 4800 block of 28th Street S., AWLA said. That’s the same block as yet another raccoon attack last year.
On a neighborhood Facebook page, the victim’s wife said he was attacked after walking out of his house and, unlike the last week’s attack, no pets were involved.
“One bit him on the leg and the other attempted to get in the house,” the woman said. “Rabies shots required and X-ray of fingers.”
Another neighbor said the attack happened just before 6 a.m.
Animal control officers were unable to locate the raccoons involved in the attack, according to Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Toussaint. AWLA is stepping up its response to the attacks, she said via email.
We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk to the public as well as preventing future incidents as quickly as possible. We have reached out to the neighboring animal control agency to quicken potential response times to future incidents. We have contacted a biologist with the VA State Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to access raccoon population management and discuss the most recent incidents and attacks. Animal control formally presented to the Fairlington Villages community and property management last year, with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States-Urban Wildlife Management, to consider alternative trash policies and other precautionary measures to aid in preventing these types of incidents from occurring while reducing the raccoon population.
It is important that the community stay alert, and that they remove any attractants around their properties including–standing water, trash, and bird feeders. Dogs and domestic pets should be kept inside or on leash at all times. Do not feed or approach any wild, stray, or feral animals, even if they appear friendly or injured. Please make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
Animal control requests that any sightings of raccoons out in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately at 703-931-9241. Raccoons are known to be carriers of rabies as well as other diseases so any interaction with them (person or pet) should be reported immediately to Arlington County Animal Control. Animal Control is reachable directly 24/7-365 days a year at 703-931-9241.
On the neighborhood Facebook page, a few residents have started calling for the raccoons to be trapped and relocated or shot, though both are illegal. Others say the neighborhood’s condominium associations should reconsider their trash policies.
The attack happened Wednesday night as the woman was on her patio with her dog. A neighbor described the woman “screaming and flailing around,” then “spraying down the blood stains on her patio” the next day, with a bandaged foot and arm.
This latest incident follows two other bloody raccoon attacks last year, which set a Facebook page for Fairlington residents abuzz. Now, residents are calling Fairlington’s trash policies into question.
Rather than using trash cans, condo association rules call for Fairlington residents to put trash bags out in front of their buildings in the mornings, for pick up 6 days a week. The trash is picked up later in the morning, but often after birds, squirrels and other critters (rarely raccoons, which are nocturnal) start clawing at the food inside the bags, spreading the contents on the ground. And that’s not to mention the times when residents heading out of town or simply flaunting condo rules will put trash out at night, an almost sure-fire way to ensure wildlife gets to it before the trash collectors.
“The Arlington Animal Welfare League says they will not attempt to remove the raccoon because there is an underlying problem in our neighborhood related to the trash,” said a neighbor of the woman who was attacked last week, in a widely-discussed Facebook post. “No other part of Arlington has as many raccoons as our lovely Fairlington. To address the problem, the Head of Animal Control suggested closed trash cans that could still be picked up daily, and could be tasteful and wooden and raccoon proof.”
“I think this is something we should advocate for,” the neighbor continued. “Until the trash situation is sorted out, the raccoon population will remain high, most likely leading to more attacks.”
In a letter from the Fairlington Villages condominium association, one of several in the larger Fairlington neighborhood, general manager Colin Horner blamed habitat loss and said residents should not feed birds nor feed their pets outside.
“Wild animals are very bold these days. This is because their territories are shrinking,” Horner wrote. “Wooded areas where wildlife resides are being destroyed to make way for human expansion. As a result, animals are being forced out into the open to search for food and lodging.”
Horner urged residents to only put out trash between 6-9 a.m., saying that “the availability of food from trash left out overnight has been singled out as a primary cause for the increase in the raccoon population,” but added that “a review of the trash policy is a current item on the Board agenda.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, meanwhile, said it is “actively managing this case.”
“Animal control officers were unable to the locate the suspect raccoon,” said Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Toussaint. “We are actively managing this case and ask that anyone with direct knowledge relating to this incident or anyone who sees a raccoon acting abnormally or coming close to residences in this area contact animal control immediately at 703-931-9241.”
Photo (top) courtesy Lilia Ward via Facebook
Northam, Gillespie Win Va. Primary — Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie, establishment figures in the state Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, beat back party insurgents to win the nomination for Virginia governor on Tuesday. The primary was a test of the “Trump effect,” according to political analysts. [Washington Post, Washington Post, Politico]
Python Found in Apartment Hallway — An Arlington animal control officer recovered a python from an apartment hallway Tuesday morning, prompting an article in by the Washington Post’s Martin Weil. In his signature style, Weil notes that “matters appeared to end satisfactorily.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Developer, 91, Wants to Move Into New Building — Longtime local developer Marvin Weissberg is enthusiastic about the 24-story, 407-unit residential tower he’s proposing to replace the RCA building in Rosslyn. So enthusiastic is Weissberg, 91, that he says he wants to move in when it’s completed. [Washington Business Journal]
Nearby: Shooting at Congressional Baseball Practice — A gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria this morning, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a number of congressional aides and two police officers. The gunman was reportedly shot by U.S. Capitol Police. [Fox News, Twitter]
— AWLA Arlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) June 11, 2017
(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) An Arlington County Police officer rescued a kitten over the weekend.
The officer found the kitten in the engine compartment of a car in Clarendon and was able to coax her out and hold her until animal control arrived.
That earned her kudos from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Facebook account. Via AWLA:
Thank you to Officer Ernesto from The Arlington County Police Department for saving this little kitten! Officer Ernesto found this little kitten (now named Grease Monkey) in a car engine in Clarendon. She was able to coax the kitten out and hold on to her until Animal Control arrived. Thank you Officer Ernesto!
The rescue happened early Saturday morning, after Officer Ernesto saw people peering into the hood of a car, at the corner of 12th Street N. and N. Garfield Street, and stopped to help.
“At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, Officer Ernesto was on routine patrol when she observed a group of individuals at the intersection of 12th Street at Garfield Street using lights to look into the hood of a vehicle,” an ACPD spokeswoman said. “Officer Ernesto stopped to assist what she believed was a disabled vehicle and later determined there was kitten stuck inside.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced it is opening the first neonatal kitten nursery in the D.C. area.
The “Kitten Academy” will help foster hundreds of kittens that are less than three weeks old, the age when a kitten is the most vulnerable. The academy will open thanks to a donation of $25,000 from Falls Church residents Ted and Willa Lutz.
According to AWLA, kittens in shelters have to overcome exposure to disease and the lack of a nursing mother before reaching an age when they can be adopted. As a result, many shelters are forced to euthanize the kittens.
Shelters can also struggle to accommodate all the neonatal kittens that arrive, especially during “Kitten Season” when many cats give birth. The season typically lasts from spring until fall, and reaches its peak in late spring.
AWLA will hold a Kitten Care Workshop on Wednesday, June 14 to train those interested in taking care of the kittens. The workshop will teach life-saving techniques and how to properly bottle feed them.
Photo via Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Two Arrested After Fleeing Traffic Stop — Two suspects were arrested by Arlington County Police earlier this morning after they took off on foot following a traffic stop in Pentagon City. Army Navy Drive was closed between Fern and Eads streets while officers on the ground and the U.S. Park Police helicopter searched for the suspects. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Barcroft Fitness Room Closing — The fitness room in the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center is scheduled to be closed between May 15 and this fall due to planned renovations.
PreCheck RV Coming to Crystal City — A TSA PreCheck mobile enrollment station will be parked at two different locations in Crystal City during the last two full weeks in May. The RV will be open weekdays; walk-ins are welcome but reservations can be made online. [WTOP]
Closing the Achievement Gap — The head of the Civic Coalition for Minority Children says lagging standardized test scores among African-American and Latino students in Arlington Public Schools can “be traced to disparities in teaching literacy to young children.” [InsideNova]
Dog Takes ‘Snuggle Tours’ of AWLA Offices — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Friday posted a video of Irma, a cuddly pup who takes “snuggle tours” of the AWLA offices, seeking extra belly rubs. [Twitter]
A raccoon got stuck in a drain at Wakefield High School yesterday, but animal control officers rode to the rescue.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington posted a photo of the critter on Twitter, taken just before it was freed from the small concrete trench.
— AWLA Arlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) February 13, 2017
(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.