114 North Alfred Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Meet APD’s Newest Rookie, K9 Zara!

The Alexandria Police Department has a new recruit from an unlikely source. Meet Zara! She was surrendered to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria last year, and caught the eye of Alexandria’s K9 Unit, who decided to take a chance on her and adopt her.   Zara has lived up to their expectations and then some, graduating with flying colors from Basic K9 School.  Zara will partner with Officer Escobar and hit the streets!  Welcome, Zara!

Zara has understandably gotten a lot of press about this great accomplishment, including the AWLA, the Examiner, and Fox 5.

As a very special AWLA graduate, Zara is a candidate for the AWLA’s Alexandria Animals Pet Photo 2015 Calendar Contest! If you’d like to vote for her, you can do so at www.gogophotocontest.com.  Just look for her great photo — courtesy of the AWLA’s 2015 Photo Contest!

Zara [Read more…]

Next Steps For Newtown Victim’s Animal Sanctuary

dog and birdTwo years after the tragic Sandy Hook Shooting, a young victim’s dream of an animal sanctuary is finally coming true with the help of her parents and the state.

Six-year-old Catherine Violet Hubbard was one of the twenty kindergartners killed in December 2012 at Sandy Hook. Before her death, Catherine had a love for animals that was deep in her soul. She even had an imaginary shelter and her own business card, according to ABC News.

Governer Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation instructing the transfer of 34 acres of a former psychiatric facility to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation, Inc., created by the Hubbards. The facility will become an animal sanctuary, hopefully up and running by 2016. [Read more…]

Is Increasing Minimum Wage Hurting Small Business Owners? Franchise Owners?

Pet Store | Heidi MeinzerAs a small business owner in Alexandria, Virginia, I understand the challenges many face when running their own company. If you are a small business owner, one such challenge you likely deal with on a regular basis is the question each employee is always asking—vocally or not.

“Shouldn’t I be paid more?”

A recent move by the city of Seattle has small business owners everywhere—particularly franchise owners—deeply concerned. The Emerald City raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. [Read more…]

Virginia Legislative Update for 2014

 dog holding a wooden gavel in mouth 2014 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Virginia’s 2014 Legislative Session ended up being quite dynamic, with a number of legislative victories. These changes will go into effect tomorrow – July 1, 2014.

Legislative Victories

SB 228 (Bailey’s Law): This law requires pet stores to post information about the source of their dogs, including the breeders’ name, city, state and USDA license number. Additionally, SB 228 gives consumers a new remedy – for veterinary bills to care for a sick dog or cat purchased at a pet store, instead of being forced to return the animal to the pet store, or to absorb those costs if the purchaser kept the animal.

SB 42 (Fox Penning): This long-anticipated law phases out existing fox pens and prohibit new pens from opening.

HB 972 (Protective Orders): HB 972 authorizes courts to grant possession of a companion animal to protective order petitioners.

SB 177 (Service Animals): This law expands the definition of “service dog” to be more in line with the federal definition, by including dogs trained to assist those with physical, sensory, intellectual, developmental, or mental disability, or mental illness. [Read more…]

Reminder: VDACS Charitable Organization Form 102 Due May 15!

post it notes piled on top of each otherTo all Virginia nonprofits, this is a reminder that May 15 is the deadline to renew your Form 102 with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs.

Organizations that wish to solicit charitable funds in Virginia must register with VDACS.  If you’ve already registered, you still need to renew your registration each year by May 15.

Don’t forget to include an updated list of officers and directors, a copy of your 990, and any amendments to your bylaws or articles of organization.  VDACS has a handy checklist for any other documents you might also need to include.

You can get a copy of Form 102 on VDACS’ website.

Be Careful What You Ask For: The Dire Consequences of Backyard Chickens

Dog watching chickenArlington County has been considering allowing backyard hens for a while now. It is commendable to find a way to obtain eggs in a way that doesn’t support big farms and the egg industry. However, backyard chickens in an urban community have the potential for very drastic – even deadly – consequences.

Surprisingly, Arlington County’s current zoning ordinance does not prohibit chickens, but Section 12.7.1 of the zoning ordinance does require poultry to be kept in a building, structure or yard located at least 100 feet from a street or lot line. Considering Arlington’s urban nature and small lots, this set back requirement prohibits the vast majority of residents from having chickens. [Read more…]

Ring in the New Year — but not too loudly!

Small Dog With Birthday Hat By all means, ring in 2014 – but don’t be too loud!  You may be kicking off the new year with a new noise ordinance.

Fairfax County and other localities in Virginia have not been enforcing noise ordinances since 2009, when the Supreme Court of Virginia struck down Virginia Beach’s noise ordinance as unconstitutionally vague in Tanner, et al. v. City of Virginia Beach, 277 Va. 432 (2009).  Virginia Beach’s ordinance prohibited “unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary” noise that is “detrimental to the life or health of persons of reasonable sensitivities.”  The noise at issue involved hip-hop, punk rock and indie music pumping from Virginia Beach’s Peppermint Beach Club on Atlantic Avenue.

The language in Fairfax County’s old noise ordinance was very similar to the Virginia Beach ordinance, prohibiting “any unnecessary sound which annoys, disturbs or perturbs reasonable persons with normal sensibilities.” [Read more…]

A Sniff Is A Search By Any Other Name, But Is It Reliable? Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris

The United States Supreme Court has weighed in on two K9 cases to conclude that a sniff is a search that must be supported by probable cause, and the reliability of that search is judged under the totality of the circumstances by examining the dog’s training and performance in controlled certification and training settings.

 

Dog NoseA Sniff is a Search by Any Other Name:  Florida v. Jardines

In Florida v. Jardines, Miami/Dade County Detective Pedraja received an unverified tip that Jardines was growing marijuana in his house.  A month later, the DEA and local police staked out Jardines’ home.  They saw no activity and could not see past the closed blinds into Jardines’ house.  After fifteen minutes, Pedraja and K9 Detective Bartelt walked Franky, a chocolate lab, up Jardines’ sidewalk.

At the porch, Franky started to show changes in his behavior that indicated he sensed the odor of one of the controlled substances he had been trained to detect. [Read more…]

More on Tracey v. Solesky and Maryland dog bite cases

The Maryland General Assembly’s Task Force appointed to address Tracey v. Solesky are working on a bill, and the General Assembly may have the opportunity to vote on the bill during an upcoming special session this month.  The bill is expected to impose liability on all dog owners, regardless of breed, but revert to the common law for landlords, imposing liability only if the landlord knows of the dog’s vicious propensities.

In the meantime, the law remains as it was prior to the Tracey v. Solesky ruling.  Delegate Heather Mizeur sent a request to the Maryland Attorney General regarding the status of the law while Ms. Tracey’s motion to reconsider is pending in the Maryland Court of Appeals.  The Attorney General responded that Tracey v. Solesky is stayed and does not take effect until the Court takes up the motion to reconsider. [Read more…]

High Five! The USDA Proposes Rule to Close Internet Loophole

Dog on keyboard with a paw in the airToday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a rule that redefines the definition of “retail pet store” under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in order to shut a loophole that has allowed retailers to sell animals “sight unseen” via the internet, by mail or over the phone.

Initially passed in 1966, the AWA carved out retail pet stores, which would not be subject to USDA licensing and inspection requirements.  The rationale for this carve-out was because the consumer had the opportunity to check an animal’s health and condition in person in the store before buying the animal.  Technology has changed all of that, allowing retailers who use the internet, mail and phone sales to escape any kind of inspection by the consumer or the government. [Read more…]