About the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
Helping Animals, Supporting Community
Since 1946, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria has been a resource for our community and a shelter for homeless animals. Through adoptions, spay and neuter assistance, education and community service and outreach, the League plays a key role in promoting responsible pet care across Northern Virginia. The League has contracted with the City of Alexandria to provide animal care, control and sheltering services since 1989. As part of our contract with the City, we operate the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, an open-admission facility accepting any and all animals brought to us. We have made a commitment that if an animal is in need, we will provide the care that every animal so richly deserves. 
We place more than 1,300 companion animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, iguanas, chinchillas and many more, in permanent, loving homes each year. An additional 300 stray pets are reunited with their owners through the League annually. Our specially-trained staff also assist area wildlife that have been injured or are in distress—with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat or transferring them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators for care and eventual release. 
The League has a vibrant volunteer corps of 200 animal lovers who support our 40+ full and part-time professional staff. In everything we do, League staff and volunteers demonstrate that love and compassion are just as important as food and water for the animals in our care. 


Emergency Preparedness

Alexandria CART

CART logoDuring natural disasters and emergencies, the safety of you and your loved ones should be your highest priority. For Alexandria’s Community Animal Response Team (CART), this includes the safety of your companion animals as well. Many people are reluctant to evacuate during emergencies because, understandably, they don’t want to leave their beloved pets behind. However, this puts people and animals at risk. The Alexandria CART assists pet owners by constructing temporary shelters where humans and animals can seek safety.

Alexandria’s CART is a volunteer organization comprised of specially-trained citizens, shelter staff, and members of Alexandria’s Animal Control Department. Working with City agencies, federal and state government, other CART in the state, and the Virginia State Animal Response Team (VASART), the Alexandria CARTs supports pet owners through emergency preparedness and disaster response.

The Alexandria CART is approved by VASART and works with collaborating organizations.


Tips for Emergencies

The best way to cope with a disaster or emergency is to BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE. A little bit of planning can be vital when a disaster strikes. Take the time now to:

  • License and microchip your pet. In the event your pet is separated from you during an emergency, a microchip can help authorities easily identify your pet and reunite him/her with you.
  • Create a Pet Emergency Kit that is ready at a moment’s notice. Include several days worth of any medication, medical and vaccination records, a picture of yourself and your pet, a leash, a collar, ID tags, water, food, toys, and bedding.
  • Create an emergency contact card for your pet. Cards are available here.
  • Purchase a pet carrier and label it with your contact information.
  • Create an emergency preparedness plan that includes your pets and accounts for transportation, food, water, and shelter.


Additional Resources

The following links serve as excellent resources for pet owners, CART volunteers, and veterinarians.



Natural disasters and everyday emergencies are often related to the weather. Unfortunately, this means you may be without power during the hottest periods of the summer and the coldest periods of the winter. When creating an emergency preparedness plan that includes your pets, take into consideration the various weather conditions you may be facing.


How to Help

The Alexandria CART is currently seeking donations of important disaster response items. Please see CART Wish List (coming soon), or view the Amazon Wish List (coming soon) online. Monetary donations to purchase needed equipment are also welcome and can be made to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria with “CART” listed as the designated fund. All donations are tax deductible. Click here to donate online.

To become a CART volunteer or for more information on the Alexandria CART, please contact team leader Karen Baragona.