PAWS Magazine

Issue 42, Summer 1999

From the Heart

I appreciate this opportunity to briefly introduce myself and tell you how excited I am about the agreement between OWR and PAWS to operate the Wildlife Center near Olympia.

My name is Shawn Newman and I’ve been on the board of Olympic Wildlife Rescue [OWR] since 1985. Marianne and I and our two companion animals Luckie (dog) and Smokie (cat) live in Olympia where I practice law. I’ve had the honor to work with PAWS, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and other animal welfare organizations on a variety of issues, including drafting leghold trapping legislation. I grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, on Lake Erie, at the time of massive fish kills and rivers catching fire.

One memory from my youth may explain my interest in animal welfare. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I witnessed the parish priest shoot pigeons in the church parking lot across the street from my home. One of the injured birds flew into our yard and died. My father, sensing my distress, called the priest to say: "This is Saint Francis, what are you doing to my birds?"

In college I was active with Defenders and other groups. As an attorney, I’ve been active with the ALDF and sued the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Northwest Trek for hiring an Army sniper to kill wildlife in the park rather than allowing their release into the wild.

I believe, as Leonardo da Vinci did, that there will come a time when the rights of animals are equal to the rights of man.

When Marianne and I moved to Washington state in 1983, I joined the Attorney General’s Office and read about the efforts of Ron Ambuehl to save local wildlife. When I met him in 1984, I agreed to help form a non-profit and sit on the board. Since that time, OWR has worked with PAWS to save thousands of injured and orphaned animals - from Roosevelt elk to spotted owls. I am always amazed at the variety of wildlife that goes unnoticed and unappreciated by the general public. Hopefully, that is changing thanks to the efforts by PAWS and others to bring attention to the plight of injured and orphaned animals and those, like Ivan the Gorilla, who deserve a better life.

I’m sure I can speak for the OWR board in saying that we are very excited about formalizing our working relationship with PAWS. We especially appreciate the dedication of PAWS staffers Jennifer Convy, Jeanne Wasserman, Richard Huffman and Kathy Kelly. They’ve been great. It is my hope, my vision, that this partnership will set the stage for further outreach that will benefit all wildlife in Washington state.

Shawn Newman

Olympic Wildlife Rescue

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