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Animal Welfare League of Arlington VA, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Mission Improve the lives of animals. Vision Create a world where all companion animals find compassionate and permanent homes. AWLA Values Compassion: Providing nurturing animal care and community outreach Progressiveness: Being on the leading edge of animal care through continual improvement Openness: Maintaining open accessibility and transparency

Programs: The Animal Welfare League of Arlington provides shelter to homeless animals, safekeeping and vet assistance to animals in emergency situations and spay-neuter options for those in need. We provide humane education in the community. We are also responsible for animal control in Arlington County, Virginia.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Catie A.


Rating: 5

I have fostered with AWLA for a year now and I couldn’t have asked for a better staff to work with! I have fostered a 7 month old, three-legged dog (who went through the amputation surgery at the shelter and recovered in my home) to week old kittens who needed a place to grow strong until they were ready for adoption. The entire staff is extremely responsive to any of my needs or questions I might have. I remember my first foster dog was throwing up at 1 am on a Friday night and I was able to call and get someone to pick up within the first ring. She was able to assess the situation, it turns out she just ate the bone too fast, and it was no big deal! But she was more than willing to stay on the phone with me and explain it at that hour. The entire staff emulates that type of responsiveness and willingness to help the foster caretakers, and any animals in need!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Adopted my kitten in March 1999 with the help of a volunteer who let me know she arrived the night before. It started a special relationship with AWLA that lasted beyond the 18-year life of my very special companion cat, Miti, who got me involved in a life of rescue. Miti pictured as kitten, adult.


Client Served

Rating: 4

Three of our pets have come from AWLA - two cats and a dog. They were very careful with the dog adoption - came to our home and evaluated and made suggestions for setting the house up properly and keeping the dog out of mischief. They were always available if I needed additional help. They conduct a lot of public events to try to bring the animals to the attention of potential adopters. The only problem we encountered was that the last cat was not completely spayed at the shelter. She continued to come into heat and required additional surgery to correct it. I was sorry to have to put her through a 2nd surgery unnecessarily.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 1


Please try to find another shelter or just spend the money and have them put to sleep your self, that way the animal doesn't have to also suffer before they die. I brought in a stray puppy, because of all the good things I heard about AWLA. They said they wouldn’t know if she was adoptable for at least a week and when I called to check on her a little over a week later, they had already put her to sleep. They claimed she was aggressive, but she was the sweetest, most affectionate dog I have ever met, she was just a bit skiddish. The dog was clearly abused by her first owner and she was living in the woods when I found her, Animal Control said they had been trying to catch her for over the month. I assumed this shelter would at least give her a chance. Now I know why they have so few dogs up for adoption. I beg you to find another shelter to donate to and volunteer for, a shelter that's not so eager to kill. I don’t know where the money they receive from donations is going, but I do know it’s not being used to help dogs in the community. Taking a dog to this shelter was one of the worst decisions I've ever made; please don’t make the same mistake!

Comments ( 1 )


lkirschner 05/09/2013

Mr. Fox, Every animal that is brought to The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) goes through a thorough examination and behavioral assessment. This is to not only ensure the safety of our shelter staff and volunteers, but also to ensure the most humane and viable outcome for the animal. It is a state mandated policy to hold a stray animal without identification for five days, at AWLA if the animal is not claimed it is the League’s prerogative to put the animal on view for adoption if it meets satisfactory medical and behavior assessments. Since the blue female pit bull mix was found in Alexandria, we consulted with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, who informed us that they had spent over a month trying to catch her. During the month they noted no signs of friendliness or positive temperament. They stated that the dog would not be placed for adoption at their facility. We kept the blue female pit bull mix you brought to the League beyond the stray hold period. Our trained staff worked with her for 11 days, but unfortunately did not see improvement in her behavior. She would fence fight with other shelter dogs and she had an intense fear of people. Her behavior continued to put those who interacted with her at risk. As defined by BADRAP, a well known non-profit pit bull organization dedicated to the rescue, support & education about the breed- a "temperament correct" pit bull is "gregarious and affectionate w/ people including strangers, confident...happy to be touched…good-natured, & well balanced" They also describe "signs of an ill bred, improperly raised or damaged pit bull" would include a dog that is "Aloof, disinterested in people or distrustful...not happy to be touched." We are careful when placing pit bulls and the pit bull your brought in demonstrated several concerning behaviors including aggression to people. To responsibly place this breed up for adoption, we look for dogs whose behavior is consistent w/that of a “temperament correct” pit bull - social with people, no history of aggression, confident, outgoing, etc. For these reasons, the dog was not placed up for adoption and was humanely euthanized. We use donations to help animals every day including blood tests and dental cleanings for older animals to make them more attractive to adopters. We recently received a female pit bull with a severely injured leg. We performed surgery to remove her leg, sent her to a foster home for recovery, and found a loving adopter for her. The League has recently received industry, state and local accolades for exceeding national animal sheltering standards, including a 2013 Compassion Award from the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies for demonstrating strong leadership qualities and accomplishments for reducing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in the community; as well as a resolution from the Virginia General Assembly in honor of the League’s efforts to reduce the number of animals that need to be euthanized due to lack of homes and shelter space. Please understand at AWLA, we always keep in mind, the best humane outcome for animal while adhering to our responsibility to protect the public. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this situation further you can contact Adoptions at 703/931-9241.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

I love AWLA! I walk dogs as a volunteer for AWLA on a regular basis, and they are a fantastic animal shelter. Every person who works or volunteers there truly love animals, and you always see tons of smiling faces and happy clients whenever you visit the shelter. I donate to AWLA every year, and I look forward to my weekend walks with all of the dogs sheltered there. Keep up the great work, Animal Welfare League of Arlington!