Join Club
Donkeys and Rep. Don Beyer (via Jacques Bopp/Unsplash and Wikipedia)

Rep. Don Beyer is standing up for donkeys everywhere and trying to save their hides.

Last Tuesday, the Congressman re-introduced legislation that would effectively ban the sale and trade of donkey-hide gelatin, otherwise known as ejiao.

Beyer initially introduced the Ejiao Act in 2021, claiming that “the international trade in donkey-hide gelatin products is leading to the mass slaughter of donkeys and widespread harm to impoverished communities around the world,” per a press release.

Ejiao, a gelatin made from boiling donkey skin, is found in various types of Chinese medicine and cosmetic products and is used to treat anemia, stop bleeding, improve the immune system, prevent cancer and treat insomnia and dizziness, according to a 2023 report from the Congressional Research Service.

The report notes the sale of ejiao is low in the United States compared to other countries. However, the Animal Welfare Institute argues in a press release that such a law “would have a tangible impact domestically while also setting a strong precedent for other nations to shut down ejiao sales.”

The U.S. should “act immediately” to shut down the illicit trade of donkey hide, said Emily Dulin, chief executive officer of Brooke USA, the lead animal welfare organization working with Beyer’s office to build support for the bill, in a statement.

“The international trade in donkey-hide gelatin products is leading to the mass slaughter of donkeys, resulting in widespread harm to impoverished communities around the world. Congress is taking action to halt all importation of those products into this country,” she said. “More and more people in poorer countries are seeing the animals they depend on stolen and killed to meet the demand for the ejiao trade.”

The trade is “senseless and poses grave risks to donkeys around the world,” added Joanna Grossman, equine program director and senior policy advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute farmed animal program.

“There is no need for these products that entail substantial cruelty and confer no real health benefits,” she said in the press release.

In February, the nonprofit Center for Contemporary Equine Studies filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that selling products containing ejiao on its website breaches California’s animal welfare statutes.

When asked about the likelihood of the bill passing, Aaron Fritschner, a spokesman for Rep. Beyer’s office, said Beyer is pursuing a Republican sponsor but has some more urgent priorities to attend to.

“Right now Rep. Beyer is focused on international conflicts and funding the government ahead of the November 17th deadline,” he said. These areas are urgent and will command much of his time and attention in the coming weeks, but as his bandwidth allows he will work to secure bipartisan support for the recently reintroduced Ejiao Act.”

This isn’t the first time Beyer has sponsored legislation on behalf of the animal kingdom.

In 2015, Rep. Beyer introduced the Humane Cosmetics Act, aimed at curbing animal testing for cosmetics across the U.S. He reintroduced the same bill again in September.

Photo (1) via Jacques Bopp/Unsplash and (2) via Wikipedia

11 Comments

A new pet urgent care is hoping to open this weekend in Buckingham.

Urgent Animal Care of Arlington at ​​249 N. Glebe Road hopes to start caring for furry best friends by the weekend, per co-owner Kayleen Gloor. The business claims it’s the first “sole dedicated [animal] urgent care in any capacity within Arlington,” though others like Bond Vet in Clarendon bill themselves as combination urgent and primary care for pets.

The veterinarian urgent care is from the team behind Clarendon Animal Care, which has locations in Clarendon and on Columbia Pike.

ARLnow first reported the pet urgent care was making its move to Buckingham back in January. It’s in the space once home to a SunTrust Bank branch, which closed more than four years ago. Following the style of the shopping center, the clinic is topped by art deco neon signage that glows at night.

While initially the opening was planned for the winter, the need to upgrade power led to a push.

“Delays were due to increased power needs due to the equipment we have (new HVAC and X-ray machine), so we were waiting on the power upgrade in order to get final inspections,” co-owner Natasha Ungerer told ARLnow via email.

An urgent care clinic for a pet differs from an emergency room in terms of the severity of the issue and what can be treated. The clinic is intended for “pets in stable condition that cannot wait to see their regular veterinarian,” per the website, with issues “that fall between a primary veterinarian practice visit and an emergency.”

The conditions that can be treated at a veterinarian urgent care include:

  • Serious cuts
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Trouble walking
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Prolonged low appetite
  • Limping
  • Mild injuries
  • Ear and skin problems

The clinic is appointment-based but walk-ins are often still available. The hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Mondays with weekend hours running from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The hope is to go to seven days a week, so adding Tuesday and Wednesday hours, starting in mid-July, Ungerer said.

0 Comments
Loyal Companion is closing all local stores, including this one at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Both Loyal Companion pet stores in Arlington are closing within a few weeks.

Parent company Independent Pet Partners announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week and is planning to shutter all of its stores outside of Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois by the end of the month.

That includes Loyal Companion locations in Clarendon at 2509 Franklin Road and in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center at 2501 N. Harrison Street. All Fairfax County and Alexandria stores are closing as well.

The plan is for the stores to be shuttered by Tuesday, Feb. 28, per the website, but “final days of business may vary by location.”

An employee at the Clarendon location confirmed that Feb. 28 will be the final day for that location, but there was no answer at the Lee Harrison store.

The company published the following letter to customers.

To our Loyal Companion community,

With a heavy heart, we want to inform you that we’ve made the tough decision to close our Loyal Companion stores.  We have loved serving the community and supporting you on your pet wellness journey. ​

Our stores will be open through the end of February.  We will be offering liquidation discounts and we encourage you to take advantage of these great offers to get all the supplies you need.

While it’s hard to say goodbye, it’s easy to say thank you. Thank you for being part of our family. Thank you for caring about pet wellness. And thank you for supporting your local community. ​

We’ve enjoyed all the hugs and belly rubs along the way. ​

Grooming services and self-wash stations will likely be stopped in the middle of the month, the website notes.

It’s not immediately clear what liquidation sales and discounts will be available at the Arlington locations, with an employee declining to provide more information.

In 2017, Kriser’s Natural Pet Store opened at Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Less than two years later, both Arlington locations were rebranded as “Loyal Companion.”

2 Comments
New animal urgent care set to open in Buckingham in April (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 6 p.m.) A new urgent care for animals is opening this spring in Buckingham.

Urgent Animal Care of Arlington at ​​249 N. Glebe Road is aiming to open its doors “early April,” co-owner Dr. Kayleen Gloor told ARLnow via email. That is pushed back a bit from the hoped-for “winter 2023” opening.

It’s moving into a space that was formerly occupied by a branch of SunTrust Bank, which closed in 2019. In terms of the art deco neon signage the shopping center is known for, Gloor said the clinic’s signage “will follow all regulations and requirements of the shopping center and will conform.”

The veterinarian urgent care comes from the team behind Clarendon Animal Care, which has locations in Clarendon, on 10th Street N., and on Columbia Pike.

The urgent care will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and until 6 p.m. on weekends, we’re told.

This is Gloor and co-owner Dr. Natasha Ungerer’s first “daytime urgent care,” which is different than an emergency veterinary clinic.

Like for humans, urgent care is intended for animal patients in need of immediate care that does not rise to the level of an emergency situation. That could include limping, rashes, minor vomiting or diarrhea, ear infections, or coughing, per a graphic that the clinic has on its website.

Emergencies might include difficulty breathing, not eating or drinking for two days, seizures, and serious trauma. The closest emergency veterinary clinics to Arlington are located in Fairfax County. There are several existing pet urgent cares in Arlington, including one in Clarendon.

Gloor said the reason they choose N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham neighborhood is due to the proximity to their other pet-centric businesses as well as “zoning regulations within the county.”

2 Comment

Bond Vet, a New York City-based chain of primary and urgent care clinics for cats and dogs, is setting up shop in Clarendon.

Construction in the space at 2871 Clarendon Blvd, in the former Lilly Pulitzer storefront, is underway. Bond Vet aims to open its doors to local dogs and cats and their humans this summer.

The storefront, part of The Crossing Clarendon retail center, has been vacant since the purveyor of preppy pink clothing packed its portmanteau and left last May. Bond Vet signed a deal to take over the space late last year, Director of Real Estate and Development Lauren Heuser tells ARLnow.

“Things are moving forward,” Heuser said. “We’re actually ahead of pace from what we anticipated from a permitting standpoint, which never happens.”

The new location is part of Bond Vet’s first expansion outside of the New York area, where it has opened nearly a dozen locations since 2019. The full-service clinics offer urgent care and routine care, including wellness exams, vaccines and spay and neuter services, as well as surgeries, dental cleanings and international health certificates.

Outside of Clarendon, its foray into the Mid-Atlantic region includes Bethesda, D.C.’s 14th Street NW corridor and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The company is also headed north into Boston, and will have 25 total locations by the end of 2022.

“[The expansion] was on the horizon ahead of the pandemic,” Heuser said. “During the pandemic, the development pace slowed down a bit, but we picked up again as soon as we felt like we could.”

Bond Vet leaders chose The Crossing Clarendon because they liked the new tenants Regency Centers has nabbed for the rebranded shopping center.

“We like to be part of a rich context with many different types of tenants, rather than going into an area where you’re only going to find soft goods or medical offices,” Heuser said. “We felt that this was a good opportunity for that.”

Recent tenant announcements for The Crossing Clarendon include New York-based seafood eatery Seamore’s, fitness center Life Time, and District Dogs, a daycare and overnight boarding facility for pooches.

“We’re certainly not a daycare but we like to create symbiotic relationships with pet care providers within the neighborhood,” Heuser noted.

Bond Vet is the third option for pet owners whose animal companion needs care sooner than what a primary veterinarian could provide but in a different setting than an emergency room, she says.

“We believe it provides enough availability for same day appointments across locations, and it keeps pets that don’t need to be in the emergency room out of the ER,” Heuser said.

(The pet-centric neighborhood will now have all three veterinary options covered, with Arlies award winners Clarendon Animal Care at 3000 10th Street N. and Caring Hands Animal Hospital at 2601-A Wilson Blvd, in addition to the new doggy daycare and a locally-based dog food brand.)

Bond Vet’s expansion comes as veterinary jobs and services have been in high demand over the last two years, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The association says urgent care clinics appear to be taking on a substantial portion of that demand.

“From a competitive landscape, what we’re seeing all over the country is a high demand for veterinary care,” Heuser said. “So many people got new pets through the pandemic, and that trend has not slowed down.”

6 Comments

When “Rocket” — the last goat at the Arlington Career Center — died in August, the large animal component of the school’s Animal Sciences program effectively died with it.

Historically, the school has kept a menagerie of animals for students interested in pursuing careers in animal care and veterinary science, including a miniature horse, goats, cats, dogs, turtles and birds. Today, the program serves about 120 students.

Since the deaths of “Rocket” in 2021 and the miniature horse “Snickers” in 2020, however, Arlington Public Schools administrators have denied requests to adopt new large animals.

APS says this is because it is updating the Animal Science program as part of the planned renovations to the Career Center. Farm animals will no longer figure into the program because they are not required to teach the four courses that will be offered: Small Animal Care I and II and Veterinary Science I and II.

“We are in the planning process to modernize the Small Animal Science and Veterinary Science lab to ensure the lab mirrors local industry facilities,” APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said in a statement. “Students will continue to learn about and care for small animals in a modern lab that reflects industry-based standards and practices.”

The new space will feature improved work areas for students and staff and better housing, grooming stations and exam areas for animals, he said.

But students are petitioning APS and pleading with the School Board to keep large animals. A petition that started last year has regained steam and, as of this morning, has just shy of 2,600 signatures.

“The lack of farm animals would take away the experience that students would need to prepare them for going into college,” writes Washington-Liberty High School student Ellen Boling in the petition. “It could also lower the interest of incoming students in the course, which would result in fewer people to care for the animals.”

W-L senior Sean Bender-Prouty told the School Board in the fall that farm animals are critical for college readiness. He said the future Career Center redevelopment plans are hurting the students currently in the program.

“The potential loss of that space in the future is being used to deny students access to large animals now,” he said during the Oct. 14 meeting. “If you decide to redevelop the site and take away our green space, students may be permanently denied the opportunity to gain necessary experience with large animals.”

Bender-Prouty’s prediction has been a few years in the making. Officials have mulled ending the large animal component of the program since 2019, when it moved eight trailers onto the animals’ grazing space to accommodate an influx of students. This prompted APS to “reimagine that program for a more urban setting,” Bellavia said at the time.

The decision mystifies Animal Science instructor Scott Lockhart, who says large animals gain students entry to a job sector that is booming, given the shortage of large animal vets in the U.S.

“The number of jobs and pathways is being reduced tremendously,” Lockhart tells ARLnow. “We’ve always taken a wide view of animal sciences and now we’re reducing that to small animal care. It does have an impact on students and what we’re trying to prepare them for.”

Read More

0 Comments
Owl and turtle get unstuck from each other (via Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

A turtle and owl found themselves a little too close for comfort last Tuesday when the owl somehow got a talon stuck in the turtle’s shell.

“This was a first for our Animal Control team,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in a tweet.

The league was alerted to the situation when a caller told the team a nearby owl was having trouble flying.

“Chief Toussaint and Officer Robinson gave each animal a check up and then gently separated the two,” according to a video chronicling the procedure.

The owl had a minor injury and the turtle was uninjured, the video said.

Both animals are safe and with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, who will take care of them until they are ready to be back in the wild again.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Big Ballston Restaurant Opening Today — WHINO, a 150-seat restaurant, craft cocktail bar and art gallery, is set to open its doors at Ballston Quarter today. [ARLnow]

County Considering Green Valley Curfew — “No arrests yet, but Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz says police are making progress after a June 6 shoot-’em-up in the Green Valley neighborhood… The matter became the topic of discussion at the June 12 County Board meeting, when one neighbor called on county leaders to impose a curfew at dusk for the park and school area. County Board member Katie Cristol has asked staff to return with an opinion on whether such an approach would be legal.” [Sun Gazette]

Police Planning for ‘National Night Out’ — “The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) invites community members and organizations to celebrate outdoor National Night Out (NNO) events on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. NNO is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our communities safer and improve quality of life.” [Arlington County]

APS Animal-Science Program Dwindling — “I am an 11th-grader at Washington-Liberty High School and a technical-animal-science student at the Arlington Career Center. The animal-science program is at risk. The number of animals in the program has been dwindling for years. The program has not been permitted to replace the recently deceased miniature horse. Only one goat is left, and he’s 17. The sole surviving ferret, at nine, is living on borrowed time. However, the administration wants to cut our programs even more, taking away our only goat and our four chickens.” [Sun Gazette]

W-L Student’s Vax Effort Lauded — “Before graduation, McBride spent countless hours convincing her classmates to get vaccinated against COVID-19. ‘I was making sure if vaccines were available for some of my friends, they were going to be able to get it and access it,’ she said. ‘I was very compelled by the thought that I want to be able to see my friends in the future, I want to make sure my friends are healthy, and the community is healthy, and their family is healthy in the future.'” [WJLA]

Man Arrested for Columbia Pike Robbery — “The female victim was walking to her parked vehicle when she observed the suspect sitting near by. As she approached the vehicle, the suspect allegedly ran towards her with his arms outstretched and demanded money. The victim backed away and the suspect ran across the street and approached another victim in a similar manner. Arriving officers canvassed the area and located the suspect.” [ACPD]

0 Comments

No, that’s not a small rock — just a baby turtle trying to make its way across a thoroughfare.

Turtles are out and about this spring, sometimes crossing local trails and roads. In May and June, many are leaving their nests in search of water, says Alonso Abugattas, natural resources manager for Arlington County Parks.

That’s because many kinds of baby turtles can remain in their nest during the winter. In the spring, turtles can make wild breaks to get to water, Abugattas says.

Turtles typically lay their eggs in the spring or summer, and they hatch in the late summer or fall.

“Aquatic turtle species will travel quite far from water, up to a mile in some cases, to find a place to lay eggs,” state wildlife staff say, adding there’s nothing to be alarmed about and the turtles instinctively know which direction to go.

Common kinds here include the eastern painted turtle, red-eared slider, snapping turtle, woodland box turtle and, by the river, the northern red-bellied cooter.

Woodland box turtles in particular have been in decline in Virginia with construction wiping out a lot of their territory, Abugattas says.

“We’re lucky to still have turtles around,” he says.

While you can help them cross a road if you’re comfortable doing so, they can be defensive, and people are encouraged to leave them alone, he told ARLnow.

If you’re thinking about caring for one, Abugattas points out they require a lot of attention due to special diets and other factors. Special lamps can help their heating and lighting needs. But animal experts warn that without proper care, light deficiencies can cause metabolic bone disease and deformed shells.

“Turtles don’t make good pets,” Abugattas says, no matter what cultural images like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” might suggest.

Photo courtesy Alonso Abugattas

0 Comments

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.”

Dr. Pepper is, admittingly, quite old. While it’s tough comparing animal ages to humans, it’s estimated that a 22-year-old cat is about the same age as a 104-year-old human.

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.

Arlington has recently seen a number of cute animal stories. Dr. Pepper’s situation is a sad one, but AWLA is hoping for a heartwarming last chapter to the elder feline’s life story.

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

0 Comments

Arlington County police frequently escort VIPs like the president and visiting heads of state as they travel to and through Arlington.

On Thursday morning, ACPD conducted a different sort of escort along a local highway. Rather than driving in limos, these VIPs waddled along the pavement.

The waterfowl family — they turned out to be geese and not ducks — ended up making it safely off the busy highway thanks to the assist from a quick-thinking and animal-loving detective.

“At approximately 10 a.m., a detective traveling on EB I-66 prior to Spout Run Parkway came upon a family of geese walking in the lane of travel,” recounted Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “He activated his emergency lights and helped escort them down the ramp, where they exited the roadway.”

No word on where the family of two adults and five little ones ended up.

Photos courtesy ACPD

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list