PAWS Magazine

Issue 37, Spring 1998

1997 Annual Report - Standing Tall for Animals

With the new year came enactment of Initiative 655, banning hound hunting and bear baiting in Washington state. Opponents launched legal and legislative challenges, neither of which managed to overturn this popular and well-supported measure. In Olympia PAWS lobbied for bills that would ban leghold traps, reform puppy mills and create a statewide spay/neuter fund. Federal legislative efforts focused on elephant trophy hunting in Africa and dolphins killed in tuna fisheries.

Insisting that animal abusers be strenuously prosecuted, PAWS assisted in or monitored several cases: a live kitten frozen to death in Everett; a family’s cats tortured and killed by babysitters in Edmonds; horses chronically neglected in Okanogan and Grays Harbor counties. The notorious puppy mill case in Pend Oreille was resolved with convictions for Swen and Jeanette Bergman.

The captivity of two primates has kept us busy. PJ is a lone capuchin monkey who lives in a downtown Seattle dentist’s office by day in a plastic box mounted to the wall, by night in a storage closet. Although we arranged to retire and resocialize PJ in a Texas sanctuary, provided opinions from experts across the country and constantly leafleted, owner Dr. Patrick Fleege, like PJ, remained immovable. King, the 28 year-old solitary gorilla living in a home not fit for one in Miami’s Monkey Jungle, continued to languish in his concrete cage although thousands of concerned folks called for his release. With PAWS and ARFF in Miami working as a team, the move is on to relocate King to Zoo Atlanta, where he can follow in Ivan’s footsteps. (Surf over to on the Internet for more information.)

On Spay Day USA, 27 Snohomish County veterinary clinics combined to spay/neuter 404 animals at drastically reduced prices. Our investigation of Wendy Laymon, the Snohomish County woman who imports dogs from the midwest and resells them, led to charges and her guilty plea to four counts of doing business without a license. PAWS convened a national conference with philosophers, veterinarians, academics, animal control and humane society leaders to discuss Animal Overpopulation in the 21st Century. The meeting coincided with the publication of former PAWS executive director Craig Brestrup’s book, Disposable Animals, a critical look at the progress and practices of animal shelters.

In order to prevent the resumption of gray whaling on the Olympic Peninsula by the Makah tribe, PAWS worked to bring public, media, and legislative attention to this pending precedent. A PAWS staff member traveled with two dissenting Makah tribe leaders to the International Whaling Commssion meeting in Monaco to voice opposition to the proposal. PAWS protested the capture of five orcas in Taiji Japan, and helped alert the world’s media to their plight. Within four months two of the five whales were dead.

The Bound for Puget Sound campaign to bring Lolita (the last surviving Washington-caught orca) back home kicked off with the printing of 60,000 copies of our special edition Lolita newsletter. Then we took the campaign directly to the Miami Seaquarium where she lives, with a transplanted PAWS staff member working to galvanize political and public pressure for Lolita’s release.

Our lawsuit seeking to prevent the killing or capturing of sea lions at the Ballard Locks slogged through the courts without resolution. The Cetacean Freedom Network, an internet listserve hosted by PAWS, carried some 4,000 messages, helping anti-captivity marine mammal advocates around the globe to share news and strategies.

Ticket holders at the Gatti, Carson and Barnes and the Ringling Brothers circuses probably noticed our suggestion that there’s no fun and games under the big top for the performing animals.

After we began reviewing hundreds of hours of animal experimentation videotapes at the UW, that formidable institution lobbied for a bill to limit public access to its records, citing PAWS’ interest. (The bill died.) And our investigation of Emerald Downs found that drug usage and breakdowns at this horseracing track were among the highest in the nation.

Our award-winning website averaged some 100,000 hits per week, bringing PAWS’ messages as close as your computer.

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