PAWS Magazine

 

Issue 52, Summer 2002

 

Advocacy and Outreach

The PAWS Advocacy and Outreach Department is building on a long tradition of being the Northwest’s leading voice for animals.

PAWS advocates will return to Olympia during this coming legislative session. The number one issue on the PAWS legislative agenda is a bill to ban the private ownership of dangerous wild and exotic animals. “It’s really sad and shameful the number of tigers, cougars, servals and other large exotic animals that are living lonely and cruel existences in the backyards and garages of our state,” says Richard Huffman, PAWS Advocacy and Outreach Director.

Even in one of the most progressive communities in North America, cruelty to animals remains a constant battle. And PAWS Advocates are on the frontlines. PAWS continues to receive hundreds of queries every year from citizens reporting cruelty. “In many ways citizens themselves can be the most powerful force for stopping cruelty,” says Huffman. “We focus much of our energy providing the tools for citizens to make a difference.”

Recently the PAWS Advocacy and Outreach Department has developed an internship program under the guidance of Companion Animal Advocate Tamar Puckett. The interns concentrate much of their energy on responding to cruelty calls.

The PAWS Advocates are currently hard at work on getting the shelters in Edmonds and Everett to begin spaying and neutering their animals. Puckett is working with Edmonds City Council member Michael Plunkett on a city of Edmonds citizens’ initiative to require spaying and neutering at their shelter. Plunkett and Hillman are also working in Everett on an ordinance that would require the alteration of animals at the county shelter.

PAWS has a long history of working with children to help foster humane attitudes towards animals. This tradition continues with the PAWS Kids Who Care classroom workshops program. Holly Anderson, the PAWS Humane Education and Outreach Coordinator, visits local classrooms five times, working with the children to learn about responsible companion animal care, how to live with wildlife, the importance of spaying and neutering, and more.

The biggest fans of the Kids Who Care program have been the kids themselves. “All the things that you taught me about cats I use all the time because I have two of my own,” wrote one happy student.

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