PAWS Magazine

Issue 57, Spring 2004

PAWS Notes


Fulmar die-off

On November 11, 2003, 32 badly emaciated Northern Fulmars arrived at PAWS from the Ocean Shores area. Northern Fulmars are tube-nosed, pelagic seabirds that spend nearly their entire lives at sea feeding on the fish, squid, crustaceans, and carrion that comprise the bulk of their diet. Tests showed that the PAWS arrivals were starving (emaciated and anemic) with no apparent infectious processes.

Northern Fulmar

In October 2003, fulmars started showing up at rehabilitation centers in California, and the event spread north through Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The cause of the die-off and that of a similar event in 1995 have never been satisfactorily explained.

Many of the birds that PAWS received were beyond all hope, and the only assistance we could offer them was to end their suffering through humane euthanasia. However, three surviving fulmars were banded and released on December 10, 2003, in good condition. These survival numbers are consistent with other centers on the west coast.

Snohomish County sheltering contract renewed for 2004

After several months of discussion, the County has agreed to renew its sheltering contract with PAWS. The renewal of this contract means that PAWS can return to its long-time status as a designated and "authorized" shelter facility that accepts stray dogs and cats found in unincorporated areas of Snohomish County.

After an unexpected cancellation of the 10-year business relationship between the County and PAWS in October 2003, PAWS and its supporters worked hard to educate the County Council about the need for two authorized shelters for the community. The Council members responded to citizens’ concerns, and in the midst of budget discussions, the Council instructed the Auditor and Sheriff’s offices to reassess the budgetary position that had resulted in the elimination of the long-standing contract.

At a County Council hearing in February 2004, the members unanimously voted to authorize approval of the contract. The contract was finalized the following week when the County Executive, Aaron Reardon, signed it and stated, "We are looking forward to being able to fully serve the citizens of Snohomish County with two authorized sheltering facilities for the community."

Washington Wildlife Rehabilitation Association (WWRA) gets off the ground

At the end of 2003, PAWS saw a long-time strategic planning goal realized when Wildlife Center staff facilitated the start-up of a state association for wildlife rehabilitators. A one-day conference, attended by more than 70 people from across the state, was held in Everett on November 8, 2003. In Washington, there are about 65 people with state permits and 30 people with federal (migratory bird) permits to rehabilitate wildlife.

It was an exciting day of information exchange and presentations and an afternoon of facilitated discussion about what sort of association rehabilitators wanted to create.

Twelve attendees, including five PAWS Wildlife Center staff members, stepped forward to form a founding board of directors to start the state association.

The association’s founding principles:
  • To foster continued improvement of wildlife rehabilitation.
  • To disseminate knowledge through meetings, reports, publications, symposia, and other means.
  • To promote educational programs, teach natural history, and explain the kinship among all living things.
  • To promote cooperation and partnerships between professional and governmental agencies and other groups and the wildlife rehabilitation community.

Volunteer shed dedication

Volunteer Shed Staff and volunteers joined special guests on January 17 to dedicate the new wildlife volunteer building. The guest of honor was Vivian Bennett, PAWS clinic volunteer and benefactor, whose generosity provided funding for building materials for this 120-square-foot structure and an additional open-roofed area for summer meetings. Paul Thienes, the architect who provided the design plans, was also present. Staff and volunteers put in the drainage, gravel base, and footing; built the structure; and wired, insulated, dry-walled, and painted the building, which will be used as a meeting and training room as well as a lunchroom.

Behavior helpline keeps animal companions in their homes

The PAWS Behavior Helpline is standing by, ready and waiting to assist you, your family, friends, and colleagues! Through this important intervention program, PAWS provides useful behavior information and support to people before they decide to relinquish their dog or cat to the shelter. The program is also designed to offer support to PAWS’ adopters when they are seeking more information or advice about their new companion animal.

More than two-dozen intensively trained volunteers operate the behavior helpline and provide resources, education, and counseling to local citizens whose companion animals are exhibiting behavior problems. Volunteers also provide written materials for clients to reference as they become more acquainted with their companion animal and work on resolving unwanted or negative behaviors. Questions frequently handled by the volunteer team include "How do I successfully introduce a new animal into my home?" and "How do I locate an appropriate trainer and obedience class?" Volunteers are also asked to provide information on managing specific challenging behaviors, such as inappropriate scratching, digging, and rough play, and litter box problems.

The PAWS Behavior Helpline has provided a great community resource and service for the last 10 years. The program recently underwent a facelift to incorporate an email component. The Behavior Helpline is available at, under the "The Work We Do" section, or at (425) 787-2500 (ext 852 for dogs, ext 605 for cats).

Record-breaking Spay Day

Four hundred forty-seven spay and neuter surgeries were performed during the 10th annual Spay Day campaign, co-sponsored by PAWS and the shelter partners of NOAH, WAIF and the Humane Society for Skagit Valley. Over 300 cats and 100 dogs were altered thanks to the efforts of 42 veterinary clinics in Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties. Their efforts will save thousands of lives by preventing unwanted litters of kittens and puppies from being born in our local communities - PAWS encourages you to patronize the participating clinics for your animal’s veterinary needs. For a complete list of clinics, visit

A "special thanks" to the following clinics who performed the most surgeries in Snohomish County: Animal Hospital at Murphy’s Corner in Mill Creek, PAWS Spay/Neuter Clinic in Lynnwood, Animal Medical & Surgical Center in Marysville, the Pet Neuter & Vaccination Clinic in Stanwood. In Island County: North Whidbey Veterinary Hospital in Oak Harbor and Useless Bay Animal Clinic in Freeland; and in Skagit County, the Cedardale Neuter/Vaccination Clinic in Mt. Vernon and the Humane Society of Skagit Valley’s Low-Cost Clinic in Burlington.


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