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Firefighters assess the scene of a house fire in the 6900 block of Birch Street on the McLean border (via FCFRD)

(Updated at 10:10 a.m. on 9/30/2022) Four people lost their home and a pet dog early Wednesday morning (Sept. 28) after a fire at their house in McLean.

Fairfax County and Arlington firefighters were dispatched at 1:45 a.m. to the 6900 block of Birch Street, near the West Falls Church Metro station area, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department tweeted at 7:06 a.m. that day.

While responders got the fire under control within 10 minutes, the blaze caused $156,000 in property damages, according to the department. A photo shows extensive damage to what appears to be a backyard deck with patio chairs.

FCFRD investigators later determined that the fire was caused by an unattended barbecue or meat smoker, according to a Sept. 30 news release.

According to the fire department, the residents were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms and their dog’s barking.

“Upon investigation, fire was seen in the kitchen,” FCFRD said. “One occupant called 9-1-1 while another tried to rescue the dog. All occupants self-evacuated prior to fire department arrival.”

The department said four occupants of the single-family house have been displaced. No injuries to the residents or firefighters were reported.

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The festival takes place in Reston Town Square park tomorrow (courtesy Canine Companions)

A DogFest is coming to Reston Town Square Park tomorrow (Saturday).

The event, slated to take place from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. at 11900 Market Street, will benefit Canine Companions, a nonprofit organization that encourages clients and their dogs to live with greater independence. Activities include service dog demonstrations, music, games, speeches and activities for kids.

The event is free, but online registration is encouraged.

“Help us raise money to provide exceptional dogs for the over 400 people currently waiting for their new canine partners,” Canine Companions spokesperson John Bentzinger wrote in a release.

The organization was established in 1975 and is active in six regions across the country.

Dogs that take part in the event must adhere to several conditions, including being social, being up to date with vaccinations, and remaining on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.

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The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is about to become a paw-pular place for beagle devotees, with 16 pooches saved from a Virginia research facility last month set to go up for adoption later this week.

On Monday morning (Aug. 8), a number of the spirited, tail-wagging beagles made their first public appearance since arriving at their new, temporary home. Dogs with names like Rosebud, Mint, and Bergamot hopped around in the grass, gnawed on a toy, and sat in their water bowl outside of the facility.

“[They] are putting their paws on grass for the first time,” shelter director Reasa Currier said as several floppy-eared puppies pranced around her feet. “They were uncertain about the sun, uncertain about the outside. All of this is brand new.”

Last month, a judge ordered the release of thousands of beagles from an Envigo research facility in Culpepper, Virginia due to the inhumane treatment of the dogs.

In recent weeks, local shelters stepped up to help the rescue effort and find the dogs forever homes. This includes the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in Falls Church, the Fairfax-based Homeward Trails, and the county animal shelter on West Ox Road.

The first wave of 16 dogs arrived at the shelter Thursday (Aug. 4). They ranged in age from 3 months to 6 years old. The beagles are currently receiving medical attention, tons of love, and just being allowed to adjust to life “being a dog,” Currier says.

She noted that the plan is to spade and neuter them this week, so they can be put up for adoption likely later in the week.

The phones have been “ringing off the hook” with calls from prospective puppy parents nationwide, Currier says.

The county shelter has an open adoption process, meaning people can walk in, fill out paperwork, meet with a counselor, and walk out with a new furry family member within the hour.

That process will remain the same for the beagles and will operate on a first come, first adopt basis. All the dogs are expected to be adopted very quickly, so Currier suggests monitoring the website to stay up to date on their availability.

For those that might miss out on the initial round of adoptions, more beagles are expected to arrive at the shelter in the weeks ahead. Read More

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The Fairfax County Animal Shelter will receive the beagles soon (via Fairfax County Animal Shelter)

For the first time, animals from a research facility will be up for adoption at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

Roughly 4,000 beagles from a research facility will be transferred to the shelter. A spokesperson for the animal shelter says staff and volunteers are excited to welcome the animals to start the “next chapter of their lives.”

“Once we know them, we’ll be able to help match them with awesome new families who can show them what it means to be a loved pet in a real home,” the spokesperson told FFXnow in a statement.

The beagles were rescued from inhumane conditions inside a research and breeding facility in Cumberland earlier this month. Homeward Trails, a shelter based in Fairfax Station, is helping the Humane Society of the U.S. find permanent homes for them.

In May, federal officials seized 145 dogs and puppies that law enforcement officials said were in acute distress. The rescue comes after federal inspectors found dozens of violations of federal regulations at the facility over two years.

For example, a female beagle’s paw was trapped in shoddy flooring for so long that she became dehydrated, according to a report from the New York Times.

Even though the beagles are from a breeding and research facility, no special protocol will be followed. The Fairfax County shelter plans to follow its standard adoption protocol.

Organizers are encouraging residents to consider adoption and support the shelter by volunteering. A wishlist for foster homes and the shelter is also available online.

The shelter doesn’t have a firm timeline yet on what the beagles will arrive or how many, according to a shelter spokesperson.

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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Sandlot pop-up bar at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Boro in Tysons is going to the dogs this weekend, hosting a pair of canine-friendly events that will also benefit a local LGBTQ youth advocacy group.

The mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station is inviting pups and their humans alike to a “Yappy Hour” at 5-7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).

The Sandlot Tysons (1640 Boro Place) will feature a Bone Bar with dog treats and branded bag holder giveaways and a photo opportunity in front of the word “bark” spelled out in “jumbo light-up letters,” according to a news release.

There will also be live music and cocktails, and the local nonprofit Wolf Trap Animal Rescue will be present to share information about fostering a dog. A portion of all beverage proceeds will go to Safe Space NOVA, an Alexandria-based nonprofit that provides support and resources to LGBTQ teens.

In addition to offering a support group, educational programs, and social activities, the organization will host its annual Pride Prom for high school students at The St. James in Springfield tomorrow. Designed to be inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations, the event had been on a two-year break due to the pandemic.

“In celebration of Pride Month, The Boro is excited to partner with one of the great local organizations aiming to help members of the LGBTQ+ community,” The Boro said in a statement. “Safe Space NOVA is dedicated to providing a safe, accepting and supporting environment to combat social stigmas, bullying and other challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth.”

“Yappy Hour” is free and open to the general public, but the development encourages registering in advance through Eventbrite.

The following morning will bring a less-boozy affair with a “Camp Bark” training session at Boro Park.

A local trainer will lead the class for beginners from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday (June 25). Free coffee and treats will be available, and a portion of sales from the tickets, which cost $10 per dog, will be donated to Safe Space NOVA.

Registration on Eventbrite is required for participants.

Additional Pride Month events coming to the Tysons area this June include the Mosaic District’s first-ever Pride Celebration on Saturday and a concert by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington at Capital One Hall on Sunday (June 26).

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