From lost baby squirrels to a sick bald eagle, Animal Protection Police calls are on the rise

A baby squirrel rescued by Animal Protection Police (Photo via Friends of Fairfax County Animal Protection Police/Facebook)

A sick bald eagle. A lost fawn. A rogue alligator in Reston. Who are you going to call? Fairfax County’s Animal Protection Police.

Made up of more than 25 specially-trained law enforcement officers within the Fairfax County Police Department, the APP’s responsibility is to enforce ordinances and to help protect humans and animals alike.

While they do assist in domestic animal situations, in recent years, they’ve received more and more calls for sick and distressed wildlife, Sgt. Daniel Cook says.

A 20-year veteran of the force, he believes this has to do with the ever-growing human population in the county.

“The population here, the housing market, the number of homes being constructed, it’s all steadily increasing,” Cook says. “So, there’s more and more people here. There’s going to be more and more interaction with wildlife.” 

Cook says that calls have increased a little more than he anticipated in the last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is related, he thinks, to folks being outside more, enjoying and observing nature.

“There are more people out in the parks. There’s more people around, looking,” Cook said.

Spring is always a busy time of year for the Animal Protection Police, since it is breeding season for many creatures.

“We get a lot of baby calls. A lot of baby raccoons, baby foxes, squirrels, birds, rabbits. You name it, we get ’em,” Cook said.

He says, for the most part, when they get calls about baby animals, there’s nothing wrong. For example, fawns are often left in one particular spot for hours by their parents.

“The first thing that goes through a lot of people’s minds is that [the animal] has been abandoned,” he says. “In reality, it has not.”

Cook says that humans should observe at a distance and refrain from touching the animals.

“We really don’t want people…handling the wildlife themselves,” he said.

If there’s something really wrong, as in cases where the animal is injured or sick, the APP will come out.

In those cases, many animals end up with licensed rehabilitators or veterinarians, who will help them heal and, hopefully, get released back into the wild.

From time to time, the APP does get some rather atypical calls.

In December 2019, they got a call about a bald eagle that turned out to be sick from lead poisoning, likely from eating fish with high levels of lead in them.

The eagle was rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

There was also Lord Fairfax, a 65-pound snapping turtle found in the county’s Alexandria area, and a rogue alligator, both one-time illegal pets that folks didn’t want any more.

“I think it was a year, maybe two years ago, we had an alligator up in Reston that somebody released into one of the lakes,” Cook said. “I think a citizen actually caught that, if I’m remembering correctly.”

Alligators and other exotic animals are illegal without proper licenses both in Fairfax County and Virginia.

Cook has pretty simple advice for anyone who spots any animal that they think might be in distress: “Number one, leave the wildlife alone. Keep an eye on it…and give us a call.”

The Animal Protection Police can be reached at FCPD’s non-emergency phone number, 703-691-2131.

Recent Stories

An FCPS employee gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at an Inova clinic in January 2021 (photo by Karen Bolt/Fairfax County Public Schools) Fairfax County is looking for artists to contribute to…

Reston Association (courtesy RA) Reston Association’s Board of Directors filled an at-large seat vacated by board member Glenn Small in November.  At a Thursday (Jan. 26) night meeting, the board…

The county’s housing authority has entered into an agreement with Foulger-Pratt (Photo via Fairfax County). A task force will discuss the redevelopment of Reston Town Center North (RTC North) beginning…

Morning Notes

Vehicles turn off Route 123 into Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Vienna’s Ilia Malinin Impresses at U.S. Skating Championships — “Even before his leading score of 110.36…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list