Alexandria The following were among cases handled recently by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, which operates the Alexandria Animal Shelter and provides animal control services to Alexandria. For more information or to report emergencies involving animals 24 hours a day, call 703-838-4774.

'Horned Devil' Near Mount Vernon

RIVER FARM DRIVE, Sept. 1. A man found an unusual looking caterpillar at the base of a tree at a home near Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Concerned that the large green bug was vulnerable to predators, he boxed it and drove it to Mount Vernon, seeking advice. Unable to obtain information there, he took it to the Alexandria animal shelter. The caterpillar, which measured more than five inches long, was identified as a hickory horned devil, with characteristic orange-and-black spikes protruding from its segments.

The man took a picture of the caterpillar with his digital camera before leaving it with animal control, which transferred it to a nature center. It is expected to grow into a royal walnut moth, with a wing span of five to six inches.

Ill Owner's Parrots Aided

ALLISON ST., 500 block, Sept. 1. Animal control was asked to help paramedics with two large parrots in a house where their owner, an elderly woman, was found unconscious. The birds, ages 51 and 18, were taken to the city shelter. The woman, who has owned the birds their entire lives, claimed them after recuperating. The average lifespan of large parrots is 40 to 50 years, but they can live to their seventies or eighties, according to animal control.

Terrier Lunges at Pedestrian

ST. ASAPH ST. S., 300 block, Aug. 30. A man walking his dog was attacked by a Jack Russell terrier that lunged through the window of a parked truck. The man, who was not seriously injured, lured the dog back into the truck. Animal control posted a notice on the truck informing the owner of the incident and the potential danger.


The following were among cases handled recently by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which operates the county animal shelter and provides animal control services to Arlington County. The shelter is open for adoptions from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information or to report emergencies involving animals 24 hours a day, call 703-931-9241. The league's Web site is

Man Feeds Baby Squirrel at Work

ARLINGTON AREA, Sept. 7. An orphaned baby squirrel found in a back yard was surrendered to animal control. A man had kept the newborn for four days, taking it to work so he could regularly feed it infant formula. Animal control sent the squirrel to a wildlife rehabilitator.

"Although some people try to help wildlife by feeding it, the public should not dispense infant formula or other food, which could be unhealthy for the animal," said Kay Speerstra, interim executive director of the Animal Welfare League. Speerstra said that the public should call animal control immediately after finding a wild animal in need and not to handle it or keep it as a pet.

Officers Find 2 Lost Dogs

MONROE ST. S., 2100 block, Sept. 3. Two animal control officers caught two stray black lab mixes on the side of the road and held them until their owner arrived. The owner, who had filed a lost-pet report, was notified of the officers' location by an animal control employee.

-- Compiled by KATHY ORTON


A large caterpillar found near Mount Vernon turned out to be a hickory horned devil, which will grow into a royal walnut moth.