PAWS Magazine


Issue 50, Fall 2001


PAWS Notes

Two horses killed during Omak Suicide Race

Two horses, Dry Grass Maverick and Elvis, tragically and unnecessarily dies during this year's Omak Suicide Race. PAWS has long-condemned the annual race in north-central Washington, which is the deadliest horse race in North America.

“It was cruelty masquerading as entertainment,” said Richard Huffman, PAWS director of Advocacy and Outreach. Huffman traveled to Omak to witness the race series in August. PAWS staff and volunteers have tracked the Suicide Race ever year since 1983. Since then, 15 horses have been killed.

Omak Suicide Hill

Participants race their horses about 150 feet before plunging down a 62° hill. The horses crash into the riverbed at the bottom of the hill, before swimming or wading across the river, and into the stadium on the other side. Typically, three preliminary races are held over the first three nights of the rodeo, with a final race held on the rodeo's last day. Occasionally and elimination race will be held earlier in the week.

PAWS has successfully encouraged dozens of Suicide Race sponsors to not offer support for the race. Unfortunately one sponsor, Pepsi, continues to associate themselves with the race. A giant Pepsi sign at the bottom of Suicide Hill remains, despite repeated calls on Pepsi to withdraw support.

New Seattle water rules will help protect salmon and wildlife

New rules adopted by the Seattle city council will help ensure that conserved water is used to increase flows in fish-bearing creeks and rivers. This victory was pushed by Yes for Seattle, an environmental group that worked closely with PAWS and other environmental groups.

The victory was hard fought. Initially Yes For Seattle collected more than 25,000 signatures to put their water conservation proposal on the November ballot. Their Initiative, I-63, was designed to charge water hogs (the most prolific residential and commercial users of water) a higher fee for their water. Water savings would be required to be diverted towards increasing the flows in salmon streams.

After the signatures were approved by the registrar, city council member Margaret Pageler worked to defeat the initiative by proposing offering an alternate initiative, slyly titled I-63b. Proponents of the first initiative felt that Pageler's machinations were designed to confuse the Seattle public.

Considerable negotiations with council member Richard Conlin produced a new proposal, Substitute I-63. “This preserved the goals of I-63,” said Sacha Chrittenden from Yes for Seattle. “This is a 100% victory for Yes for Seattle and the region's environment.

Substitute I-63 will require the city to increase water conservation by 12 million gallons per day by 2010. It creates an “environmental block” of water to be used to increase flows in fish-bearing creeks and streams. The size of the block will increase gradually from 2 million gallons per day to 12 million gallons per day in 2015. It creates a new program to retrofit all low-income housing in Seattle for water conservation by 2010. The Initiative is paid for by a water hog rate only affecting households and businesses that waste water.

A larger version of this article is available on-line at

PAWS advocates educate public at Ringling performances

PAWS advocates and volunteers dressed as clowns and animals helped educate the public about the cruel realities of circus life for animals during recent Ringling Bros. performances in Seattle. PAWS clowns handed out spinner toys to kids, offering an educational message, and brochures to parents, reminding them what their kids already know: wild animals belong in the wild.

PAWS staff

The efforts of PAWS and other animal advocates over the past few years is clearly having an effect. Ringling attendance has dropped from 60,000 in 1996 to less than 24,000 during this September's performances. None of the six performances was more than a third full, and one performance had only 2,300 people show up to Key Arena, which seats 17,000.

PAWS advocates had hoped to distribute about 6,000 spinner toys, but were pleased that the reduced attendance only allowed them to hand out 4,400.

For the first time ever, Ringling had no local sponsors to help promote the circus. PAWS had lobbied previous sponsors KOMO-TV, Bartell's Drugs, Albertson's, and others, and they all agreed to not sponsor the Ringling Bros. performances. In response, Ringling purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of local media, including bus ads, newspapers ads, and television commercials. The media blitz had little effect on attendance.

PAWS report shows that animals fared poorly during legislative session

Animals fared poorly in the Washington State legislature last year, according to a report on animal-related legislation issued by PAWS. The report is available on-line at Two legislators found themselves on the Manure Pile for their consistent action against animals. Representative Jim Buck and Senator Jim Hargrove, both of District 24 (Olympic Peninsula), were chosen for the “honor.”

Twelve legislators were honored for their work on behalf of animals. Representative Mike Cooper (21st), Senator Jeri Costa (38th), Representative Hans Dunshee (39th), Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (36th), Representative Barb Lisk (15th), Representative John Lovick (44th), Representative Mark Miloscia (30th), Senator Julia Patterson (33rd), Senator Margarita Prentice (11th), Representative Sandra Romero (22nd), Senator Dan Swecker (20th), and Senator Pat Thibaudeau (43rd) all worked to protect animals during the legislative session.

PAWS-proposed legislation to ban the private ownership of dangerous wild animals, and legislation to protect egg laying hens, both failed to make it out of committee. Other positive legislation, including bills to allow humane agencies to provide limited veterinary services to the general public, to protect downed animals, to adopt consistent rules and regulations for wildlife rehabilitators, and others, failed to be brought for a vote.

There were a few positive bills enacted into law. A bill allowing for the creation of animal trusts will create much needed peace of mind for individuals concerned about their animals should the individual die. A minor bill allowing for licensed massage practitioners to apply for an endorsement for animal massage therapy also passed.

Much of the energy of animal advocates during the 2001 legislative session was directed towards defeating bills that would have damaged animals. One bill, sponsored by Representative Jim Buck, would have required that any Washington Initiative related to wildlife would have the receive an two-thirds majority vote to be passed into law. Another bill, sponsored by Senator Jim Hargrove, was directly targeted at undoing the recently passed Initiative 713, which banned cruel traps. Other bills sought to exempt certain practices from the state anti-cruelty statutes, to restrict information about the treatment of animals in Washington state, and more.

PAWS advocates will be back in Olympia for the 2002 legislative session.

Send your care to the Dogs! Help the animals by donating your vehicle

Donate your running automobile, boat, or motorcycle to PAWS and receive the maximum value. PAWS is looking for vehicles that are running and will take little or no work to resell. If interested, please call 425.787.2500 extension 879.

PAWS will coordinate a pick-up time. Please have your title and registration ready. PAWS will provide a receipt for you based on the value of the donation. As with any non-profit gift, it is wise to consult with an independent tax advisor.

PAWS Olympic Wildlife Center joins Adopt-a-Highway program

Adopt a Highway Sign

PAWS Olympic Wildlife Center has agreed to remove litter along a two-mile stretch of State Route 8 four times per year for the next two years. The Adopt-a-Highway program is a partnership between concerned citizens and the Washington State Department of Transportation to provide a cleaner environment along state highways. A sign with the PAWS Olympic Wildlife Center name has been posted at milepost 8 in the Eastbound direction and at milepost 10 in the Westbound direction. The first cleanup was held in August 2001, with Barb Conroy, Sandy Buzzelli, Kathy Weed, Emily Meredith, Kip Parker and Heather Tschaekofske participating. Our next cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, 2001.

New Companion Animal Clinic opens at PAWS to help shelter animals

A new companion animal clinic at the PAWS Lynnwood campus opened in early October. “It is going to make a big difference,” said Colleen Smith, PAWS Companion Animal Services Director. “We had reached our limits in our ability to spay and neuter more animals.”

Last year PAWS spayed and neutered 2,132 dogs and cats, a major increase from 1,500 the year before. The new clinic has two surgery tables, which will allow the clinic staff to spay and neuter animals more efficiently.

Vet Clinic

The clinic is located in the old Advocacy and Outreach building. The building has a long history on the PAWS property. Built in the 1940s, the building was originally a family home, without indoor plumbing. For most of the last 35 years it served as a caretaker's home for the PAWS campus. About six years ago it was converted to office use for Advocacy and Outreach staff.

The old Companion Animal Clinic, located next door to the new clinic, will be converted into an isolation ward. That building served as the original PAWS shelter, and later served as the original PAWS Wildlife Center.

All paws members are invited to PAWS Annual General Meeting Dec. 5

All PAWS members, supporters, and staff, are invited to the PAWS annual general meeting Wednesday, December 5, at Cafe Ambrosia.

The meeting will honor the volunteers of PAWS and will be a great opportunity to visit with PAWS staff and volunteers.

The meeting will run from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Cafe Ambrosia is sponsoring the event.

Cafe Ambrosia, located on Lake Union, is easy to find. Driving South on I-5, take Exit 168A after crossing the Ship Canal Bridge. At the light, make a right turn onto Roanoke Street. Proceed down the hill toward Lake Union. At the bottom of the road, follow the bend to your left. The restaurant is to your immediate right after you make the turn in the road. Park in the free parking lot in front of the restaurant. If driving North on I-5, heading from downtown Seattle, take exit 168A. At the stop sign, make a left turn onto Lakeview Blvd. Follow the road until you come to the second stop light. Turn left onto Roanoke Street. Follow the directions above from Roanoke.

Click here for an online map to Cafe Ambrosia.

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