Welcome to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

Animal Control

Since 1989, the AWLA has contracted with the City of Alexandria to provide animal care and control services for City residents. Whether patrolling dog parks, responding to citizen’s calls or caring for animals as part of our safekeeping program, the League’s animal control officers handle every case with balanced judgment and concern for the animals and people involved.

Every month, our animal control officers respond to more than 200 calls for service. These calls include every possible animal concern ranging from dogs barking and running at large to wildlife that have become trapped inside residents’ homes to cruelty investigations and animal seizures. The League’s animal control officers are trained to handle domestic pets and wildlife in distress. If you think that a domestic or wild animal is in distress, please call the League at 703-746-4774 or email animalcontrol@AlexandriaAnimals.org.

In addition to responding to citizens’ calls for service, animal control also manages the following activities:

  • Dog and cat licensing for City residents
  • Dog park patrol
  • Humane trap rental
  • Pet store permits
  • Safekeeping of companion animals
  • Bite reports and quarantine within the City
  • Rabies testing for animals suspected to carry the virus

Learn more about Alexandria's Animal Control Officers below.



Shannon Williams

Deputy Chief of Animal Control

Shannon came to the AWLA in June of 2009 as an animal control officer. She had previously worked in Maryland as an animal control officer for three years. Shannon has also worked as a veterinary assistant, where she gained most of her professional experience with companion animals. Shannon is a wife and mother, and her family shares their home with 2 dogs and a hamster, all of whom were adopted. As a child she always loved and cared for all types of animals, so it came as no surprise when she chose to be an animal control officer.

Shannon explains, “My job may not be glamorous, but I know that I am the voice for the animal that is often unheard. I love what I do because it is gratifying to know that I helped an animal or a person in need.”


Erika Jewel

Erika Jewel

Animal Control Officer

Erika came to the AWLA in December of 2009 as an animal care technician, where she learned a great deal about companion animal behavior, medical needs, and the not-so-glamorous routine of cleaning kennels every morning. After one year of animal care experience, Erika laterally moved to the Adoptions Department, where she learned the human side of the shelter. Erika later applied for an animal control officer position and was added to the team in July of 2011. Looking back at her various experiences at the shelter, Erika says, “I believe everyone should start out scrubbing kennels and looking after the animals. It really makes you understand what an animal goes through, from start to finish, at the shelter.”

Erika earned her Bachelors of Equine Business Management from Post University in Connecticut. She shares her home with the loves of her life—her dog Turk and cat Birchmere (a former foster cat with a broken pelvis.)


Doug Gudakunst

Doug Gudakunst

Animal Control Officer

Doug is the most recent addition to the animal control team. His background is in Forensic Wildlife Investigations, a very specialized field in which he received a B.S. from Mercyhurst College. Doug came to us with very unique and intensive experiences in both investigations and working with wildlife in an urban setting.

Doug lives with his wife and their cat Nemesis. Doug finds the field of animal control quite rewarding and is very pleased to have so many opportunities to educate people about urban wildlife and the issues that can arise when sharing a city with them.