Alexandria, VA – Beginning Thursday, March 26, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be suspending animal adoptions. With the news from the Inova Alexandria Hospital that the first cases of community spread of COVID-19 have been discovered in the city, we continue to re-evaluate what is safest for our visitors, our team and our whole community; at this time, for the health of guests and staff, we have determined to limit the number of people in our facility.
“This is a difficult decision for us to make,” says AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly, “but we feel our highest duty is to our community, and at this time, limiting person-to-person contact has shown to be the best way to prevent the spread of this virus.”
During this time, we will still be providing the highest level of care to the animals in our custody. The majority of them will be getting individualized attention in the homes of foster caregivers, who will be in frequent remote contact with our team if they have any questions or concerns. We will also have a limited number of essential staff providing care to any animals who come to us as strays during this time, and our veterinary team will continue to help any animals with medical needs.
We will also have staff available between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help with urgent community concerns, including found animals, Pet Pantry requests or emergency surrenders. To make sure we can accommodate these requests, we ask that you make an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; at this time, we are not able to make appointments by phone due to overwhelming volume. That said, if you have an animal emergency, please call the Police Dispatch Line at 703.746.4444; the AWLA’s Animal Services team will be continuing to work standard hours of 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
We are currently booked for adoption appointments through Wednesday, March 25, and we will be suspending adoptions after that time.
As a reminder, if you are able to delay surrendering a pet at this time, we ask that you consider doing so, to help our staff be able to accommodate all the animals in our care. If we can assist you in doing so, please reach out to our Community Pet Pantry at email@example.com for pet food and supplies or our Behavior Hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org for behavioral questions or support.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor the latest on the local health situation and share any updates to our operating status on our website and social media. We thank you for patience in this time of reduced staffing and your understanding that these efforts are meant to protect everyone involved with the AWLA and the community-at-large.
While we realize that this period during which adoptions and events are suspended will mean a reduction in income, we are dedicated to the animals in our care and the staff who are going above and beyond to help them in these difficult times.