Issue 67, Summer 2007
Thank You for Our First 40 Years!
Since our founding in 1967, PAWS has been recognized as a Northwest leader in protecting animals. In fact, PAWS is unique in the nation for being the only animal welfare group with proactive advocacy and education programs that also offers comprehensive sheltering, spay/neuter, and adoption services, and operates a full service wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center. What does this mean? It means that we "walk our talk" every single day. When PAWS speaks out for at-risk animals, we do so with the knowledge and experience of what it takes to care for them and heal them, to re-home or return them back into the wild, and, to live with compassion and respect for all creatures. Keeping true to our name, PAWS has always initiated progressive approaches to make a more humane world.
- The desperate plight of homeless animals inspired our founders to combat overpopulation by raising funds for spay and neuter surgeries. When people learned there was fresh hope for unwanted animals in their neighborhoods, boxes of kittens and puppies started arriving on our thrift store doorstep, and PAWS was born.
- PAWS Wildlife Center was the first in Washington State to build a wildlife hospital complete with surgery suite, and radiology and diagnostic services. PAWS' wildlife team also developed many of the standards of care and best practices that are now in place in wildlife hospitals and rehabilitation centers across the country.
- In the late 1980's, PAWS won an injunction requiring the University of Washington's Animal Care Committee to hold open meetings, which had been closed since the group was formed in 1964. The judge ruled that the work of the committee—as a group that defines policy for the use of animals for teaching and research in a public institution—must be open to public scrutiny.
- PAWS was the first shelter in Washington State to require the spaying or neutering of every adopted companion animal, back in 1970. It seems an obvious solution today, but in the early seventies when 25 million animals were euthanized annually in shelters across America, this was a bold and progressive step.
- Kids Who Care—a core part of PAWS' Humane Education Program— was the first school-based program in our region to offer a comprehensive curriculum covering issues surrounding wildlife, companion animals, and farm animals. Through our suite of education programs, we've given more than 12,000 young people the tools they need to make compassionate choices in their daily lives and speak out for animals in need.
- To make it as convenient as possible for Seattle residents to find their perfect feline friend, in 1997 PAWS opened one of the first cage-free cat adoption centers in the nation. Since then, the PAWS Cat City team has found forever homes for more and more cats and kittens each year, and last year achieved a new annual record of 977 successful adoptions.
- Our wildlife team helped spearhead a wildlife medicine seminar in 1999. This program has since been taught in several veterinary colleges across the United States and Canada, and is offered through the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. Prior to this, little formal wildlife medicine content had been presented in veterinary colleges. Future veterinarians now benefit from PAWS' hands-on experience in caring for as many as 240 wild species.
- In partnership with PETA as part of a consortium of animal welfare groups, PAWS twice stopped the U.S. Navy from deploying dolphins in Western Washington to assist with military operations. Although we saw victory in the early 1990's, we remain vigilant. Earlier this year, the Navy launched a new Environmental Impact Study in the hopes of deploying dolphins and sea lions for defense purposes.
- A decade ago, PAWS set the example for shelters statewide by ending the euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals. To achieve this, our shelter team worked hard to build a suite of support services, such as a Foster Care Program—the first in the region—for the youngest and sickest animals, and also launched our own in-house spay/neuter clinic.
Thank you for joining us on our mission to make a better world for animals. With your support, PAWS remains at the forefront of progressive care and action for animals.
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