PAWS Magazine

 

Issue 48, Winter 2001

 

PAWS Notes

Washington State voters ban cruel traps!

Thanks to the efforts of 3,000 volunteers who spent countless hours gathering more than 260,000 signatures, Protect Pets and Wildlife (a coalition of animal groups including PAWS) was able to present the question to the voters of Washington State, 'Should cruel and indiscriminate body gripping traps and poisons be banned in our state?' The voters said YES!

On November 7, 2000, voters passed Initiative 713, which bans the use of all body gripping traps and two kinds of poisons. These traps include steel-jawed leghold traps, neck snares and conibear traps. The poisons that are now banned are Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide. Trapping exceptions are made for moles, gophers and mountain beavers, as well as for the Department of Fish and Wildlife in cases where human health and safety are at risk, or for legitimate scientific research.

"This will mean the prevention of excruciating suffering for thousands of animals," said Stephanie Hillman, PAWS Wildlife Advocate. In the past two years recreational and commercial trapping has killed approximately 35,000 wild animals. As these traps cannot discriminate, they often catch family pets, 'non-target species,' and occasionally endangered species.

Animal 101 conference: putting compassion into action

It's not often that a single day changes someone's life forever. But for Joe Haptas, the day that he attended Animal Rights 101, a conference sponsored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA,) was that kind of life-changing day. "It inspired me to become an activist for animals." Haptas is hoping that a new generation of activists will be similarly inspired by Animals 101, an all-day conference that Haptas is helping organize.

Animals 101—Putting Compassion into Action, sponsored by Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), PAWS, the Humane Society of the United States, and EarthSave, will be held Saturday April 7 at Seattle's Town Hall. Haptas is the director of NARN.

Animals 101 will feature many workshops spanning the range of the animal movement, from wildlife issues, to legal issues, to food choices. Keynote speakers will be Dr. Roger Fouts Ph.D., Director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communications Institute, and author of "Next of Kin," and Wayne Pacelle, Senior Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs for the Humane Society of the United States.

Kevin Mack, Naturalist from PAWS Wildlife, will be offering a workshop about urban wildlife and wildlife rescue. Jennifer Hillman, PAWS advocate, will bring some of her recent experience lobbying in Olympia for a session about helping animals through legislation.

"I hope that people come out of these workshops inspired to act and educate themselves even more," says Haptas.

Haptas is also pleased to see so many local animal groups coming together for the conference. "This conference is really about building a community," says Haptas. "It's important for [the different animal groups] to find common goals and values and use that as a starting point to helping animals."

Animals 101 will cost $7 for pre-registration and $11 for day-of-event registration. All participants will be treated to a vegan lunch. To register on-line, visit the conference web site at www.paws.org/animals101, or call the conference hotline at (425) 787-2500 ext. 672.

AK Media partners with PAWS to help wildlife

The PAWS Wildlife Center is the best-kept secret of PAWS. Few people in the Puget Sound region seem to realize that PAWS rehabilitates wildlife. This is all about to change, though, thanks to a major donation by AK Media.

AK Media owns all of the billboards in the Puget Sound area and selected PAWS to be one of their ten community partners for 2001 and 2002. Each community partner organization gets three billboards to advertise their work; each billboard is rotated among different locations around Puget Sound during the two-year program. Among the other Community Partners are Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Puget Sound Blood Center.



"It's scary to think of the injured and orphaned wild animals who might not be helped just because people don't know that we rehabilitate wildlife," says Stephanie Hillman, PAWS Wildlife Advocate. "This will go a long way towards letting the public know of our wildlife work, and that they should call us if they need help." A 1999 PAWS survey showed that while PAWS has a 96% name recognition in the community, less than one out of six people in the Seattle-area knew that PAWS did wildlife rehabilitation.

AK Media's gift, valued at $500,000 over the two-year life of the program, is the single largest in-kind donation in PAWS history.

"Thousands of wild animals will benefit for years to come from this incredibly generous gift," says Kip Parker, PAWS Wildlife Director.

PAWS advocates protect animals during Olympia Session

The 57th Washington State Legislature saw a variety of bills this year that advocated for the humane treatment of animals. PAWS advocates introduced five pieces of legislation and were able to both educate and gather bi-partisan support for all of them.

Diane Venberg, PAWS Exotic Animal Campaign Coordinator, joined forces with Animal Protection Institute to introduce Senate Bill 5729 and House Bill 1725, both requiring a ban on the private ownership of certain wild and exotic animals. Lobbying efforts encouraged legislators to recognize that wild cats, wolves, bears, non-human primates, and some species of highly poisonous or constricting snakes and reptiles are inappropriate as "pets" because of the inherent cruelty involved in keeping them in unnatural environments and the health and safety threats to individuals and the community. H.B. 1725, sponsored by Representative John Lovick and S.B.5729, sponsored by Senator Pat Thibaudeau, allowed currently owned animals to be "grandfathered" in by a permitting process through local animal control agencies and state law would make it a misdemeanor to possess a newly-acquired wild animal. H.B. 1725 was granted a hearing before the Natural Resources Committee on February 14 and at press time, is still going through the legislative process.

Jennifer Hillman, Farm Animal Campaign Coordinator, introduced two similar bills, both protecting egg-laying hens, in the House and the Senate. PAWS worked with Senator Julia Patterson's office to introduce S.B. 5730, which would ban the egg industry's practice of "forced molting" whereby hens are starved of food for up to 14 days and of water for up to three days in order to force the natural cycle of molting, which increases the number of months during which the birds can lay eggs, thereby increasing production overall. In the House, Representative Mike Cooper prime-sponsored H.B. 1726, which would ban the use of the battery cage, the practice of forced molting and the practice of debeaking. In the egg industry, laying hens are kept with up to 6 other birds, in small wire cages, known as "battery cages." Because the cages are so small, the hens are deprived of all their natural instincts and the industry slices off their beaks in order to minimize the damage they do to each other as a result of being so tightly confined. Both bills were referred to the Agriculture Committees and while PAWS' educational efforts were positive, and both gathered a good base of support, neither were granted a hearing this year.

Finally, Companion Animal Advocate Kay Joubert, worked with the Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies on a bill to clarify the rules governing spay and neuter services provided by animal shelters and non-profit humane societies, such as PAWS. This legislation protects our ability to properly care for the animals in our shelter, as well as address the tragic reality of companion animal overpopulation in our community. At press time the Senate version of the bill is in the rules committee, awaiting approval for a full Senate vote.

Record number of veterinarians team with PAWS and WAIF for Spay Day

A record 42 veterinary clinics teamed up with PAWS and WAIF to offer more than 300 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries in Snohomish and Island Counties on February 27th, Spay Day 2001. The annual campaign is a collaborative effort with the veterinary and animal welfare communities to directly impact companion animal overpopulation in our area.

PAWS has been a regional sponsor of the event since it was launched nationally by the Doris Day Animal Foundation seven years ago. The campaign has grown from 17 to 42 participating veterinary clinics, performing over 2,000 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries since the campaign started in 1995.

Since overpopulation knows no boundaries, PAWS teamed up with the Whidbey Animal's Improvement Foundation (WAIF) in 1999 to extend the campaign's success into Island County. "This is truly a collaborative effort with the veterinary community and the animal welfare community," explains Kay Joubert, PAWS Companion Animal Advocate. "The veterinary clinics contribute the key resource by offering surgeries far below cost, and we handle the public outreach and create media awareness about the need to get cats and dogs altered."

PAWS appreciates the generous donation of the veterinary community that Spay Day represents, and we encourage citizens to patronize these clinics as a way of thanking them for their efforts. Look for a list of participating clinics and a final tally of this year's campaign on the PAWS web site at www.paws.org.

Even Singapore bans animal circuses—c'mon Washington State

PAWS Board Member Iain Moffat, fresh from a trip to Asia, reports that Singapore has decided to ban exotic animal performances in circuses, placing it among a growing list of countries and cities that have enacted bans. Singapore's Agri-food and Veterinary Authority said that it enacted the ban "in the interest of public safety and animal welfare."

Closer to home, the Port Townsend city council approved a city-wide ban in February on circuses featuring animal acts.

Encouraged by news like this, PAWS continues to fight to protect the suffering circus animals forced to venture into Washington state. "Wild animals belong in the wild, it's as simple as that," says PAWS Advocacy and Outreach Director Richard Huffman.

PAWS advocates and volunteers will be out in Spokane April 20 when the Shrine Circus brings their animal acts back to town. Following on the heels of last September's highly successful efforts when Ringling Bros. Circus came to Seattle, PAWS advocates and volunteers will again dress as clowns to greet families and offer educational material. PAWS is still looking for Spokane area volunteers to help out; those interested should contact Cindy Raven at PAWS, 425.787.2500 x810.

Offsite cats get comfy new homes thanks to donation from Midwest Homes

The PAWS cats who are available for adoption from Mud Bay Granary store on Seattle's Capitol Hill just got cushy new digs, thanks to a donation by Midwest Homes.

Mud Bay Granary, located at 115 Belmont, is the most recent pet supply store to serve as a PAWS offsite adoption partner facility. The Offsite Adoption program has helped hundreds of PAWS cats find homes over the past few years. Cats are placed in pet supply stores, and the store staff adopts the cats out using the same stringent standards that are followed at the PAWS Shelter and at PAWS Cat City. All adoptions are approved by PAWS staff.

Mud Bay Granary director of Marketing Scott Miller arranged for the donation of two cages from Midwest Homes for Pets, which is America's largest builder of homes for dogs and cats. Midwest Homes regional sales manager Mike Schanzle personally assembled the cages at Mud Bay Granary.

"This is a great donation that will ensure that our cats are comfortable while they wait for new homes," said Denise Cabral, PAWS Offsite Adoption Promotions Coordinator.

Two friends go "Paddling for PAWS" from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island

Last year they swam across Lake Washington to raise money for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. This year, on Sunday, April 1st, Bob Donovan and Paul Zimmerman will don wetsuits and flippers to brave the chilly waters of Puget Sound and swim from Whidbey Island to Mukilteo State Beach in the "2nd Annual Paddlin' for PAWS." All monies raised will support PAWS companion animal, wildlife, advocacy and educational programs.

"We wanted to do something different," said Donovan, "something that would be a lot of fun, that would raise awareness and money for PAWS. They do a really super job in taking care of the homeless dogs and cats and injured wildlife."

Paul Zimmerman nodded in agreement. "Last year when we came up with this neat idea to swim across Lake Washington, everyone thought we wouldn't make it, even though we stay in shape through gymnastics. We surprised everyone ten days later when we did it." "It was a blast, too," said Donovan then laughing, "though you can only do a dog paddle when wearing a wet suit."

By doing the swim in the Sound, the event highlights the work PAWS Wildlife does in helping injured wildlife, and even sea animals.

Chase boats will accompany the two men to keep them on course and out of trouble. Permits have been obtained from the US Coast Guard. The Washington State Ferries have been notified of the event. The date was selected for favorable tidal conditions and the duo's actual start time will be determined closer to April 1. Weather may also play a part in their plans.

PAWS members can support Donovan and Zimmerman's efforts by mailing a tax-deductible donation to PAWS, Box 1037, Lynnwood, WA, 98046. For more information, visit the PAWS web site at www.paws.org.

Egg-industry practices are cruel; PAWS survey of Washington voters reveals

A large majority of Washington voters oppose standard egg-industry practices such as intensely crowded cage confinement, debeaking, forced starvation, and overuse of antibiotics, a PAWS-commissioned survey revealed in late January.

"This survey clearly shows that citizens are deeply concerned about the conditions of egg-laying hens in Washington State," says Jennifer Hillman, Senior PAWS Advocate. Gilmore Research Group of Seattle surveyed 202 registered Washington State voters from across the state from January 22nd to January 28th.

According to the survey, 69% of voters believe that confining six or more hens in a small space is unacceptable, 58% are opposed the practice of debeaking chicks, 82% oppose the starvation practices of forced molting, and 67% oppose the aggressive use of antibiotics.

PAWS proposed two bills in Olympia this session that would have dramatically improved the conditions of egg-laying hens. Senate Bill 5730, sponsored by Sen. Julia Patterson, would have eliminated the practice of forced molting. House Bill 1726, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cooper, would have eliminated the "battery cage" system, as well as ban forced molting and debeaking. Both bills were denied hearings.

Rep. Dunshee honored as PAWS Humanitarian of the Year for 2000

State Representative Hans Dunshee of Snohomish was honored as PAWS Humanitarian of the Year at the PAWS Wild Night Auction in early March.

Dunshee was selected for his strong public commitment to Washington State's wild animals. "Rep. Dunshee is that rare politician that loves and respects animals, and backs up his beliefs with strong legislative action," says Richard Huffman, PAWS Director of Advocacy and Outreach.

Dunshee strongly defended cougars during last year's contentious hearings to overturn Initiative 655, which had outlawed the sport of hound hunting of cougars. Though much of the law was eventually gutted, Dunshee was the most vocal defender of cougars during the hearings; typically Dunshee was the only legislator to defend cougars in the media.

More recently Dunshee was a strong supporter of Initiative 713, the newly approved law that bans cruel trapping of fur animals. Dunshee is currently leading efforts in the Legislature to protect I-713 from challenges.

PAWS Community Program calendar for Spring

The twice-monthly PAWS Community Program classes continue through spring covering a variety of animal subjects. Unless otherwise noted, all classes are free. Each program will be held in the classrooms in the south wing of the Shoreline Conference Center at 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. For a map and directions to the Shoreline Conference Center, check out the PAWS web site at www.paws.org under Featured Items/Community Programs.

To RSVP for these free classes, please call Holly Anderson at 425-787-2500 ext. 812 or e-mail holly@paws.org.

PAWS adopts record number of cats and dogs

3,577 cats and dogs found adoptive homes from the PAWS shelter in Lynnwood and PAWS Cat City in Seattle during 2000, 500 more animals than were adopted in 1999. This was the largest number of adoptions on record.

"We are so proud to have found homes for so many more animals," said Colleen Smith, PAWS Director of Companion Animal Services.

The increased number of animals put considerable strain on the staff and resources of the shelter. At one point during the summer, PAWS had more cats in the PAWS system than any other time in history. Traditionally "kitten season" puts a stress on PAWS resources for a few summer months, but this year "kitten season" ran right through December. The shelter staff were able to work out many creative solutions to deal with the increased animal population.

"It was pretty tough," says Animal Care Technician Marnie Tyson. "We were all exhausted all of the time. We were always busy, because the increase in animals meant more people coming in the door. But looking back, it is just unbelievable the number of animals we helped."

Though all adoptions were up in 2000, cat adoptions took the largest jump, up almost 400 from last year. Many of these adoptions took place at PAWS Cat City in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Cat City held a grand re-opening in the spring, generating a great deal of positive publicity.

PAWS also launched an advertising campaign for the shelter, placing signs on buses during May and June, and advertising Cat City in several community newspapers. This year PAWS is expanding its shelter advertising efforts with the goal of further increasing adoptions.

Towards year-end PAWS launched a holiday-themed campaign to find responsible homes for 500 cats and dogs between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. A veritable army of PAWS volunteers placed 2,000 posters in businesses all over the Seattle area, encouraging people to visit PAWS and consider adopting a companion animal. Ultimately PAWS found responsible homes for 506 animals during the holidays, which is almost double the number of animals adopted during the same time period in 1999.

Criminal investigative report completed for IBP plant

A multi-agency task force has sent to Walla Walla County Prosecutor Jim Nagle a criminal investigative report into possible violations of the Humane Slaughter Act by IBP, a major national beef packer.

A year-long investigation by the Humane Farming Association and KING 5 TV revealed shocking cruelty at the IBP-owned slaughterhouse in Wallula, WA. According to both videotaped evidence and sworn affidavits, workers inside the plant testified that cows were being butchered alive.

PAWS joined with other local and national animal organizations to petition Washington State Attorney General Gregoire to take enforcement action against IBP for violations of the Humane Slaughter Act, animal cruelty statutes and worker safety and health violations. Upset by the allegations and the graphic undercover footage aired on KING 5 TV, thousands of people contacted the Attorney General, the Department of Agriculture and Governor Locke. Governor Locke assembled a multi-agency task force to prepare a criminal investigative report.

According to a press release dated February 1, from the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General's office, the results of the investigation will not be disclosed until the prosecutor's office makes a final determination whether or not to press charges.



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