PAWS Mission Statement:
To advocate for animals through education, legislation and direct
Progressive Animal Welfare Society
The Progressive Animal Welfare
Society (PAWS) is a Lynnwood, Washington-based animal advocacy
organization. PAWS advocates for animals through the operation of a
companion animal shelter, a wildlife center with two locations, and an
advocacy department. PAWS is not affiliated with any of the several
dozen other groups in the United States that are also known as PAWS.
PAWS is a member-based non-profit
organization. PAWS is entirely dependent on public financial support
for its 3 million dollar annual budget. PAWS is overseen by a board of
directors, who serve three-year terms. PAWS has a paid staff of around
The PAWS Wildlife Center is a
world renowned wildlife rehabilitation facility. Formerly known as
HOWL, the PAWS Wildlife Center receives over 5,000 injured or
displaced wild animals every year. The center houses and rehabilitates
wild animals, and prepares them for eventual release back into the
wild. The Wildlife Center has cared for bears, coyotes, opossums,
seals, starlings, bobcats, squirrels, and many other species of wild
animals that populate the Pacific Northwest.
The Wildlife Center has two
facilities located in Lynnwood and McCleary, Washington. The
facilities include modern veterinary examination offices, large areas
for bears and other large mammals, and cages for small wildlife. On
the grounds next to the Lynnwood facility are large bird aviaries, as
well as tanks for aquatic birds and aquatic wildlife. Behind both
facilities are large aviaries for owls, eagles, and other large birds.
Large pens housing coyotes, opossums, deer and elk can also be found
in both Lynnwood and McCleary.
PAWS Wildlife is staffed by a
dedicated crew of veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation experts.
During the busy summer months as many as 200 volunteers work in the
Wildlife Centers helping to maintain the almost round-the-clock
feeding schedules of the birds, clean cages, and help with wildlife
As residents of the Pacific
Northwest encroach more on the habitat of wildlife, the Wildlife
Center's facilities routinely fill to capacity. During the summer and
fall of 1998 the Lynnwood facility was home to over 10 black bear
cubs--normally the center is home to only one or two cubs. The
Wildlife Center is currently developing a large mammal and raptor
facility to be housed in a more rural setting than the relatively
urban environment of the Lynnwood Wildlife Center. The large mammal
and raptor facility will allow bears, deer, elk, eagles, and other
large animals to be rehabilitated without the interfering sounds and
smells of cars, dogs, and humans.
PAWS has been caring for orphaned
and injured wild animals since 1981. Our rehabilitation permits are
issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 1981, PAWS has grown to be one of the
largest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the Pacific
Northwest. We receive between 5,000-7,000 animals each year and our
release rate of 51%-54% is slightly higher than the national average.
The PAWS Wildlife Department consists of two centers: the Lynnwood
facility (about 15 miles north of Seattle) that serves the North Puget
Sound area and the McCleary facility (about 15 miles west of Olympia)
that serves the South Puget Sound area. Our hospital includes surgery
and x-ray facilities, a fully equipped nursery, flight cages for
birds, outdoor caging for large mammals and pools for aquatic animals.
The PAWS Wildlife Department functions
on philosophies that support our mission. We treat all Washington
wildlife, which includes native species and non-native species that
have established populations within the state of Washington. Some
examples of our patients are American Black Bears, Virginia Opossums,
Red-Tailed Hawks, European Starlings, Townsend's Chipmunks and Bald
Eagles, along with 150+ other species. Our main goal is to release our
patients back into the wild, which means that we behave in a way that
allows our patients to remain wild. We want to keep their natural fear
of humans intact during their stay with us. Infant animals that are
hand-reared at PAWS are not cuddled, played with, named or talked to.
They spend their time with conspecifics if possible and receive
minimal human contact. All animals treated in the PAWS Wildlife
Centers are treated as candidates for release. If an animal is deemed
un-releasable, PAWS does not house the animal in captivity, but rather
chooses humane euthanasia as the animal's final disposition.
Our internship program began in
1988 with one intern. Since then, the program has expanded and we are
now able to accept 12 or more interns each summer. Interns have become
an integral part of the operation of the PAWS Wildlife Rehabilitation
Centers. Most interns are students who are studying biology,
ornithology, wildlife sciences, environmental studies or
pre-veterinary medicine. Some people receive college credit for their
internship while others may complete an internship for the experience
alone. Past interns report that they find their time at PAWS well
spent, extremely valuable and rewarding. Through the years, some
interns have gone on to pursue a career in the field of wildlife
Details of donation, membership, volunteer and
internship schemes are available on-line.