Leslie Fender and Angel have traveled almost 1,500 miles over three years to get to Arlington, and they’re not stopping now.
Fender is a Vietnam War veteran and Angel is his horse. Right now, and through the weekend, Fender and Angel will be camped out at American Legion Post 139 at 3445 Washington Blvd in Virginia Square. Fender and Angel started their journey from his hometown of Stephenville, Texas, three years ago, raising awareness for stroke prevention and research.
Fender is tall, wears a cowboy hat and his American Legion nametag, speaks in a Texas twang and says he started his ride to benefit the National Stroke Association and American Stroke Foundation, which helped pay for his own stroke surgery and recovery in 2004.
This morning, an Arlington resident called 911 after seeing Angel grazing in front of Post 139 and Fender relaxing in his tent on the front lawn. Arlington County Police Department Dustin Sternbeck said the man from the 17,000-person “Cowboy Capital of the World” is doing nothing illegal.
“The horse is not being housed here, so therefore it’s just a mode of transportation,” he said. “When the horse is in the road, cars need to yield to it.”
Fender is staying the weekend to visit the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Rosslyn and the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., he said. And what if some new neighbors want to come see Angel?
“They can come and see her, definitely,” Fender said. “But they should donate to the stroke foundation if they do.”
After this weekend, Fender said he and Angel will mosey north, visiting Veterans Affairs hospitals, American Legion posts and V.F.W. posts, raising awareness for stroke research, camping out and stopping traffic as they go.
According to Animal Welfare League of Arlington Chief Animal Control Officer Alice Burton, the coyote was struck at about 9:30 a.m. on Route 110 near Arlington National Cemetery.
The responding animal control officer — who works for AWLA, the county’s provider of animal control services — removed the coyote from the scene and brought it back to AWLA, where it had to be euthanized, Burton said.
Arlington’s only previous confirmed sighting of a coyote was in April 2012, courtesy of a wildlife camera set up in Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Other sightings reported by residents have either been foxes or dogs mistaken for coyotes, Burton said.
Despite the cemetery’s location in the heart of the county, Burton said it didn’t strike her as shocking that that’s where the animal was found.
“Right by the cemetery you have pretty quick access to D.C., and I know Rock Creek Parkway has had problems with coyotes,” she told ARLnow.com. “I believe they’ve had more confirmations [of coyotes] in D.C. than we have.”
Arlington’s Natural Resource Manager Alonso Abugattas confirmed that the animal found was a coyote. The female was about 27 pounds — the average adult weighs about 30 pounds — but had young teeth, a bushy tails and many other indicators Abugattas used to confirm the species.
“It’s very small for a coyote but is much too big to be a fox,” he said. “It’s very slender, has no microchips or tattoos to indicate it’s a pet.”
Abugattas said although coyotes are rare in Arlington, the second one spotted in two years is no cause for alarm; the animals don’t present a danger to humans.
“The reality is, I don’t think they’re going to be any kind of issue,” he said. “These animals learn to live next to humans and not mess with humans. I don’t believe they would cause any kinds of issues to the public. There have been cases, however, where feral cats and loose dogs, coyotes will occasionally eat a smaller dog, both as a competitor and as prey. Cats are considered prey as well. That’s the only way that they might affect the public.”
File photo via Wikipedia
Rosslyn workers got a “hump day” surprise Wednesday when a camel showed up in front of the WJLA building at the corner of N. Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd.
According to the camel’s handler, the large ungulate was brought to Rosslyn by the TV station in honor of “hump day.” The camel is from a ranch in Berryville, Va.
A crowd quickly formed at the plaza in front of the building as onlookers snapped photos with cell phones and quoted the popular GEICO commercial featuring a camel in an office on a Wednesday. One even quipped to the handler that he should be walking through aisles of cubicles, not outside in the plaza.
Hat tip to WJLA’s Alex Liggitt
The flyer at the left was recently posted at the Washington & Lee Apartments (2200 2nd Street N.), threatening “legal action and fines” against those who feed the squirrels. Sandra Rose, who has been the apartment property manager for 18 years, stresses she’s not trying to be nasty, but the animals have been causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to the property.
“People think they’re cute and cuddly, and they are. But they don’t always understand they’re a rodent,” Rose said. “As a rodent they do rodent type damage.”
The squirrels recently have chewed holes in roofs on the buildings and residents have complained about the animals getting into their attics. Rose said she has had to hire exterminators to try to capture the animals once they’re loose in the building.
The roof damage isn’t the only problem with the squirrels the property manager has encountered. Rose said in the past, she’s sent out similar flyers when the squirrels managed to get into residents’ car engines and strip spark plug wire material, which they then used to pack their nests.
Rose said one of the exterminators actually spotted residents feeding the animals, which is why she sent out the flyer. She recommends other property owners inform their residents of how destructive the squirrels can be.
“I think they should let tenants know not to feed them because that’s domesticating them,” said Rose. “When they become domesticated they become dependent on you and won’t go away.”
Arlington County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas shared Rose’s concerns. He said feeding any wild mammals, squirrels or others, is a bad idea.
“In a nutshell, with mammals the overall idea is it’s not a good idea to feed them,” Abugattas said. “When you start feeding more unusual wildlife — squirrels, deer, foxes, raccoons — that’s a bad idea. It changes their behavior, and not only will they hang out in places where they shouldn’t, but they lose some of their fear and healthy respect for humans. Wild foods are always healthier for the animals anyway.”
While contracting rabies is a rare occurrence, it could be a possibility if the animals become so domesticated that they approach people, and perhaps bite them. Abugattas said it’s one of the many health concerns stemming from feeding wild animals. Another concern is the the spread of diseases to pets.
A smaller acorn crop in Virginia and West Virginia this fall is prompting squirrels to change their behavior this winter, Abugattas added. As a result, squirrels and other animals have been seeking out non-traditional food sources to make up for the lack of acorns.
Gun Fact Check — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at Virginia for being one of the top suppliers of guns used to commit crimes in his city. He called out the state for having weak gun laws. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s office fought back, releasing a statement saying the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and its rates of crimes such as homicide and robbery are lower than in New York City. The New York Daily News checked out the claim, however, and found that Virginia has 3.9 killings for every 100,000 people. That’s compared to the state of New York — not just New York City — with 3.5 murders per 100,000 people. [New York Daily News]
Rabbits at Library — The library’s regular Paws to Read program is on hiatus in August. Instead of using dogs this month, one of the librarians suggested bringing in rabbits to join kids while they read. The librarian noted that the Muslim families she knows aren’t able to participate in the Paws to Read program because Islam discourages touching dogs. Three rabbits — Mocha, Copper and Apache — already took turns cuddling up with visitors at the Columbia Pike Branch Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Rabbit Population on the Rise — Arlington is one of the D.C. metro areas experiencing a rabbit boom. The county’s chief naturalist confirmed that there’s been a spike in most of Arlington’s neighborhoods. Because they typically don’t carry diseases or bother humans, the rabbit boom isn’t causing alarm. In fact, because the animals are prey for a number of other creatures, it’s believed their numbers will naturally come under control. [Washington Post]
Bezos to Buy Washington Post — Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com, has agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million in cash. The sale is expected to be completed within 60 days. Employees at the Post were reportedly shocked by the deal. [Poynter Institute]
Earth Day apparently isn’t just for humans. The animals at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (2650 Arlington Mill Drive) in Shirlington will be getting a special treat in recognition of the day.
Girl Scout Troop 1251 from Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church has been helping to construct a “small companion animal garden” at the shelter. Animals at the shelter including rabbits, guinea pigs and birds will soon be able to munch on the fresh, organic produce that will be grown in the garden.
The scouts will put the final touches on the garden on Monday, which is Earth Day. At that time, they will finish planting the produce such as cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, parsley and carrots.
The 2nd Annual Turtle Trot 5K takes runners along the W&OD trail. Proceeds help with the rehabilitation of injured local turtles and wildlife, and with providing shelter until they can be released back into the wild. Some money also goes toward educational programs at Long Branch Nature Center.
Following the race, the whole family can enjoy educational booths, games and displays, some of which feature live animals. Onlookers can also cheer on the stars of the “real turtle race.”
The 5K starts close to the picnic pavilion in lower Bluemont Park, near Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street. Sign up can be done online through Friday, or on location starting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The race begins at 10:00 a.m.
The W&OD trail will not be closed during the race, so runners must share the trail. Others who plan to use the trail at that time are encouraged to be patient and be mindful of runners.
For more information, call 703-228-6535.
Many residents spent this past Saturday taking part in the various Neighborhood Day events throughout Arlington.
The weather cooperated, providing warmth and sun for the outdoor activities. From yard sales to cook outs to petting zoos, residents came out to connect with their neighbors and partake in the festivities. As you can see, kids’ activities took center stage at most of the events.
Here’s a look at the festivities at Highland Park Overlee-Knolls Family Fun Day, Bluemont Neighborhood BBQ and Fairlington Day.
AWLA considers this one of its most important fundraisers of the year. Money raised will help care for all the homeless animals brought to AWLA every day, from dogs to hamsters to birds.
The three mile walk or one mile stroll will start and finish at Bluemont Park (329 N. Manchester Street). Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m. In addition to sponsor booths, there will be demonstrations by WOOFS! Dog Training Center of Shirlington, and by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit.
Humans are encouraged to bring any canine walking partners older than four months. Dogs must be on a flat leash, not a flexible leash. Cats and other pets must stay at home. All pre-registered human walkers will receive a t-shirt, and dogs will receive a bandana.
You can register for the race on AWLA’s website. The cost for the walk is $25 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Special prizes will be awarded to participants who raise the most money.
After years of reports of coyote sightings in various parts of north Arlington, county naturalists finally have visual proof of their existence.
From a county press release:
Just last week, a game camera at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, in Arlington, took the first video of an Arlington coyote. “We’ve had reports of them for years now, mostly in north Arlington, along the Potomac River, but couldn’t get any proof,” said County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas. “The public has sent us several pictures claiming coyotes but they were all either dogs or mangy foxes.”
What brings coyotes, long an iconic image of the West -– and paired with the Roadrunner in a beloved series of cartoons — to Arlington? Abugattas believes that our highly urbanized, densely populated County might actually be attractive to coyotes, who are skillful scavengers.
“Coyotes will make a living wherever they can find food, even in big cities,” he said. “I think they are here to stay.”
Arlington’s coyotes have proven to be very cautious and wary of people. They move around primarily at night, according to naturalists.
“Coyotes are very good at avoiding people, so residents shouldn’t be overly concerned,” Cliff Fairweather, a naturalist at the Long Branch Nature Center, said in a statement. “The key is for resident to not feed them or to encourage them not to be afraid of people. The longer they are afraid of people, the better it will be for coyotes and people.”
Rep. Jim Moran has inserted an amendment into an agricultural funding bill that will continue to ban federal inspections of horse meat. The ban effectively prevents the slaughter of horse meat for interstate or foreign export.
Moran’s office has issued the following press release about the amendment.
Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, successfully included an amendment to the Fiscal Year ’12 Agricultural Appropriations Act to eliminate funding for USDA inspection of horsemeat. By defunding federal inspections, the amendment will prevent the cruel practice of horse slaughter in the United States.
“Industrial slaughter of horses should not be condoned by the United States Government,” said Rep. Moran. “We have to put an end once and for all to this practice. These animals are a proud symbol of the American West, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. They deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.”
Identical language was overwhelmingly approved in 2006 and has been included in the Agricultural Appropriations bill every year when introduced in subcommittee. This year the language had been stripped out and the Moran amendment sought to reinstate it.
A ban on USDA inspections halts the issuance of certifications for horsemeat exports, which has stopped operations at horse slaughter facilities and prevented new facilities from opening. In addition to improving U.S. animal welfare, the Moran amendment will reduce federal spending by $5 million each year. The FY’12 Appropriations Act now heads to the floor for a full vote by the House of Representatives.
The amendment has received the support of the Animal Welfare Institute and the Humane Society of the United States.
“Adding millions of dollars to the federal budget to inspect foreign-owned horse slaughter plants would have been a step backwards for America’s iconic horses and a waste of tax dollars,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to Congressman Jim Moran for leading the charge to restore this critical horse protection provision, and to the House Appropriations Committee for reining in this multi-million-dollar subsidy that would paved the way for the needless killing of American horses for foreign gourmands.”
Iota to Hold Memorial Day Fundraiser — Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon will be holding a Memorial Day fundraiser for tornado and flood victims. It will be open for breakfast and brunch starting at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, then the music and the burger/hot dog cookout will begin at 3:00 p.m. Among the 21+ acts scheduled to perform are Alexandria folk-rockers The WeatherVanes, Arlington acoustic rocker Taylor Carson and Arlington singer/songwriter/vocal powerhouse Margot MacDonald.
Civic Federation to Discuss Public Safety — At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 7, the Arlington County Civic Federation will hear presentations from and ask questions of Arlington’s police chief, director of emergency management and a senior fire department official. Also at the meeting, the Federation will hear presentations from ask questions of Arlington housing and planning officials, regarding affordable housing.
Farm Animals in South Arlington — The Arlington Career Center apparently houses chickens, goats and a pony behind its concrete walls. [Pike Wire]
What kind of an animal left these unlikely prints in the snow overnight Sunday? That’s what one Arlington homeowner is asking.
I found these in the driveway early [Monday] morning. I’ve Googled animal prints and sent copies to friends, but no one has figured out the type of animal responsible.
One theory is that the prints belong to a hobbled bunny. Any other guesses?