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. 



Nuisance Wildlife

To report wildlife that is not injured or aggressive and does not pose a safety threat (e.g. raccoon under porch), please contact Humane Wildlife Services, 866-948-6263.

Injured Wildlife

To report injured wildlife that does not pose a safety threat, please contact The Wildlife Rescue League, 703-440-0800.

Dangerous Wildlife

For all wildlife that poses a safety threat (e.g. raptors/birds of prey or suspected rabies carriers), please contact Animal Control, 703-746-4774 or 703-838-4444 (after hours).

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Red-eared Sliders

red-eared slider baby3Red-eared sliders, semiaquatic turtles named for the distinctive red stripe on the sides of their heads, are among the most popular pet turtles in the United States. A 1975 federal law prohibits the sale of turtle eggs and live turtles less than four inches in length. In Virginia, red-eared sliders are defined as naturalized wildlife, which makes their sale or purchase illegal in the state. They can be given away or kept as pets, as long the person caring for the slider has no more than five of them. Anyone thinking of a red-eared slider as a pet should consider adopting. Learn more about red-eared sliders.

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Foxes in Alexandria

Foxes are indigenous to Alexandria and Northern Virginia. As the region developed into an urban landscape, foxes adapted and they continue to live alongside us. Foxes are generally shy and are rarely seen, but they do inhabit our neighborhoods. Most fox sightings occur at night, when they are most active, but as part of their adaptation to urban life, foxes will scavenge for food during both day and night. The mere presence of a fox during daylight hours is not a sign of rabies. Foxes survive by eating rodents and other small mammals like squirrels, woodchucks, and rabbits and they do not hibernate in the winter.

The mating season for foxes lasts from January to early March. Like other forms of wildlife, fox populations fluctuate from year to year and the warmer winters as of late have led to more fox pups surviving. During mating season, foxes will become more vocal and that is often when many residents discover they have foxes living nearby. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “The mere presence of a fox, raccoon, coyote, or bobcat on your property is not necessarily a cause for alarm. These animals are not predatory toward humans and rarely pose a threat to pets.”

If residents see a fox, they should simply leave the animal alone. Residents should never feed wildlife or encourage wild animals to approach them. All household pets should be vaccinated against rabies and not left unattended or allowed to roam the neighborhood. Animal control will not capture or relocate any wild animal simply because they are sighted or are making noise. One of the benefits of living in the City of Alexandria is the abundance of wooded areas and natural habitats, and we must be tolerant and learn to coexist with the wildlife we share our city with.

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