24 posts categorized in "Legislation"

By Katie Amrhein, Community Education Coordinator

As I sat down in my chair with a strong cup of coffee, notebook and pen in hand, I knew I had an important day ahead of me. It was Humane Lobby Day, a chance for animal advocates from around the region to meet and speak with state representatives and senators about the bills and topics most important to us.

Navigating the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia, I found myself in awe. It is not often that someone like myself, who spends most of my days surrounded by children eager to learn about animals, gets to sit down across from a Washington State Senator.


However, lo and behold, when you bring up the topic of animals, the stories unfold. A legislative assistant enthusiastically shared about the cats she has adopted from PAWS over the years. One Senator adopted her favorite dog from PAWS. Through these stories, it becomes clear that animal welfare topics are bipartisan issues. Everyone has a story, and the importance of taking the time to listen and share cannot be overlooked.

Animal welfare issues are incredibly important to us here at PAWS, and we make sure that our legislators and policy makers know that. However, we cannot do it alone. By taking the time to voice your opinion, you are engaging with your elected officials so they can best represent you and your positions.


Visit your local representatives and senators in Olympia, give them a call, write a letter, or send them an email. Check out our Legislative Watch for information about the bills that PAWS is supporting that can directly improve the lives of animals. Take a look at our Action Toolkit for specific ways that you can get involved.

By supporting humane legislation, we can work to help animals through positive, powerful legislation.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue championing for animals in need.

Inspired to take action for animals? Here are some suggestions for things you could do

Want to keep up to date with our news? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter



As 2012 draws to a close, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your support.


Over the past year—with your help—we have transformed the lives of more than 6,000 injured, orphaned and abandoned animals. Together, we provided much-needed shelter, care and love for the cats, dogs and wildlife who arrived at our door, in need of a second chance.

Your year-end gift to PAWS will help animals like Clementine the kitten, who was rescued along with her brothers and sisters from an overcrowded shelter in Eastern Washington. At PAWS, Clementine and her siblings received the attention they needed to grow healthy and strong.

In 2012, PAWS rescued a record-breaking number of cats, dogs, kittens and puppies from overburdened shelters around the state, providing each of these animals warmth, love and a second chance at life. Your gift today will help us care for many more animals like these throughout the coming year.

Please, take a moment right now and make an end-of-the-year tax-deductible donation for the animals.

From all of us at PAWS, we wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and humane New Year!

Thank you for supporting PAWS!



The circus is no fun for the animals!  That’s why PAWS and the Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies are encouraging you to skip going to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Ringling Bros. is scheduled to perform in Kent, Tacoma and Everett in late August and early September.

Circus-ElephantThe use of animals as circus performers is an outdated—and inhumane—concept. Behind the scenes trainers often use whips, bullhooks, electric prods and other painful tools and methods to force animals to perform tricks. When not performing, animals are kept in small, cramped cages for days at a time with little monitoring.

Exotic animals that have special husbandry needs are often kept in violation. Elephants that travel with circuses spend hours in transit and in chains. Circuses train animals through such coercive means as beating, whipping, prodding and shocking. Elephants are subject to abusive handling methods from devices known as bullhooks that can puncture and tear sensitive skin.

Ringling’s use of bullhooks, prods, and shackles are in violation of Federal Law. Shockingly, laws and regulations offer circus animals minimal protection, and they are rarely enforced. In March 2012 Ringling Brothers settled a USDA action that resulted in a fine of $270,000 for mishandling animals. This is the largest civil imposed penalty ever issued to a circus by USDA.

Circuses with performing animals send the wrong message especially to children, since wild animals are living beings and are not meant to be exploited for entertainment purposes. Animals do not naturally ride bicycles, walk on their hind legs, balance on balls, or jump through flaming hoops.

There are many wonderful circuses that do not use and/or abuse animals, such as Cirque du Soleil, and they are just as exciting and entertaining, if not more so, than those that do. The public is strongly urged to seek entertainment venues that don’t use animal performers and to support the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act!



PAWSwalk 2012 is only weeks away, and we can barely contain our excitement!  PAWSwalk is moving to a new home at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond. On September 8, come with your friends, family and co-workers (and of course your favorite canines) for a fun-filled day of saving animals’ lives. Get ready to Bark in the Park and register now!

And of course we would not be able to put on such a fun event without the support of our generous sponsors!  It's with great appreciation that we thank and acknowledge our PAWSwalk Defender-level sponsors:

PAWSwalk 2012

Both Whole Foods Market and Click 98.9 have been incredibly supportive of PAWS and our mission to care for injured, orphaned and abandoned cats, dogs and wildlife.

Their generous support allows us to continue working to save animals' lives, and ensure a better tomorrow for the animals in our community.

PAWSwalk is a fun, family-friendly event that will give 1,200 supporters the opportunity to take a beautiful 4.1-mile walk through Marymoor Park with their dogs, and enjoy a morning of entertaining activities, contests, shopping, and giveaways at sponsor booths, all while helping save animals’ lives.  Sponsorship opportunities for PAWSwalk are still available; please contact Whitney Allen for more information.

Register now for PAWSwalk 2012!


PAWS Actionline Limit Tethering

Please take five minutes today to send an email to your representative and help us get SB 5151, the Spay/Neuter Assistance bill, on the budget. 

This can be done in just two easy steps:  

Step 1Use this letter template to help formulate your message. The key point is to emphasize the financial and community benefits of the bill.

Step 2. Email a copy of your letter to the members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. The email addresses of the members of the committee can be found here.

Please contact info@savewashingtonpets.org if you need assistance with writing your message or identifying your legislator.

This bill will help put an end the suffering of unwanted and homeless animals in our community by preventing unplanned litters. Spaying and neutering is good for the community and a great way to help our animal friends live longer, healthier lives.

On behalf of PAWS and the animals in our community, thank you!


The bill to establish humane limits and conditions for dog tethering, HB 1755, is scheduled for a hearing this Thursday January 19 at 10 A.M. before the House Judiciary Committee. 

We urgently encourage you to support this bill's passage by contacting your representative in support of HB 1755.

Email Tara Weaver, tara.weaver@leg.wa.gov and ask her to forward your written testimony to House Judiciary Committee members no later than 7 P.M. on Wednesday January 18.

Use this letter template to help formulate your message—pick 1-2 bullet points for your e-mail.

Please refer to the bill advocates' website for specific details on the hearing time and location, guidance for submitting testimony, and directions to the state capitol.

Let us know after you take action by forwarding a copy of your message to publicaffairs@paws.org!  With your help, we can be a voice for all dogs in Washington State. 

Thank you for your support!

Help protect cougars—send WDFW survey feedback today!

Cougar Cub Today, September 20, is the last day to give the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) your input on how wildlife, especially our fragile cougar population, is managed in our state.

If you live in Washington, please take a few minutes today to fill out WDFW's survey!

HELPFUL HINTS: WDFW’s survey is short and fast—the first page is the only required field to answer. The six question quiz should be quick to take, but if you are really short on time, skip to Issue 3 and 4, regarding cougar management. Please choose “other” and include some, or all, of the message below in your survey comments:

  • Cougar populations are an essential part of Washington’s ecosystem. Scientists have found that stable cougar populations get into less trouble with humans and livestock, and consequently reduce the risk of conflicts with humans. Researchers have defined a stable cougar population to be one that does not exceed a 12% human-caused mortality rate, of the estimated adult cougar population, in any given Game Management Unit (GMU).
  • Please do not exceed a 12% mortality rate when deciding cougar management policy. Also, please do not extend cougar management to include the indiscriminate and inhumane practice of sport hound hunting.   

Your feedback will play an important role in shaping wildlife management and associated hunting regulations for 2012-14. Final recommendations will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for adoption next spring. 

Help us track who responded to the survey. Send your comments, or simply a quick note, that you took the survey, to publicaffairs@paws.org.

Thank you! Together we can be a voice for wildlife management in Washington State. 

HensBlog1 This week the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) announced a historic agreement to work jointly on federal legislation which would ban battery cages and phase in more humane standards nationwide. This agreement would not have been possible without the hard work of caring citizens on state ballot initiatives, such as our very own Yeson1130! Campaign!

In Washington State alone, the Yeson1130! Campaign gathered 360,000 signatures to help 6.5 million egg-laying hens statewide. Little did we know our collective efforts would create a tipping point on discussions between HSUS and UEP, changing the course of humane standards for 280 million hens nationwide!

If passed, the new federal legislation would be the first federal law to protect farmed birds, as well as the first to address the treatment of any species of factory farmed animal. Sadly, farm animals are not currently protected under the Federal Animal Welfare Act.

The proposed legislation would transition hens from barren, cramped battery cages (with only 48 to 67 square inches of space to move) to larger enriched colony housing (with 124 to 144 square inches of space to move). The colony environment would also be equipped with nesting boxes, perches and scratching areas, to enable hens to express their natural behaviors.

Read more about the proposed legislation in the HSUS and UEP’s joint statement: http://www.unitedegg.org/homeNews/UEP_Press_Release_7-7-11.pdf

This agreement also means ballot measures in Washington and Oregon are currently on hold so that all work can be focused on quick passage of the new federal law. Thanks to all of you who supported the Yeson1130! Campaign! PAWS has been proud to endorse Yeson1130 and we look forward to seeing how hens will be positively impacted by all our combined efforts.

Read more about HSUS’ announcement. Also, checkout other ways you can positively impact farm animals in your daily life.

The Yes! On Initiative 1130 campaign is down to the last week of signature gathering to get I-1130 on the November voting ballot. Your help is still needed!

I1130Hen Since July 4 weekend is filled with fun, parties and celebrating our freedom, why not help hens’ freedom too? Bring your I-1130 petitions to parties and get family and friends to sign your petitions to get I-1130 on the November ballot. Don’t forget to mail your petitions no later than July 6.

The Yes! On Initiative 1130 campaign, will provide basic standards on cage size for six million egg laying hens in Washington state—simply a little more room to humanely live. The good news is the campaign currently has 327,632 total petition signatures (241,153 valid signatures are required to qualify for the November ballot). Totals are looking great but the gathering goal is about 340,000 signatures to account for a possible 12-27% signature invalidation rate. So every signature still counts a great deal!

Thank you for supporting hens in Washington state!

Late April marked another victory for animals in Washington State—Governor Gregoire signed into law SB 5065, the prevention of animal cruelty bill. The new law will gives greater protections for animals by clarifying animal cruelty law definitions and helping with compliance and enforcement of the law.

Lab puppy (4)

Under current law, anyone convicted of felony animal cruelty (or repeated animal cruelty violations) can own or reside with a similar animal to the one they had abused. In other words, if a person was convicted of abusing a dog, under our current law they could still own a cat. The new law closes these gaps so that people convicted of animal cruelty cannot easily become repeat offenders. Also, while the current law applies to only those who have been ordered by the court to forfeit their animals, the new law will apply to any person convicted of felony animal cruelty. The bill also steps up jail time and penalties for those convicted of second degree animal cruelty.

PAWS supported this important legislation and empowered citizens at our 2011 Humane Lobby Day in February to voice their support to their legislators. Visit our Take Action webpage for a reminder on our 2011 Humane Lobby Day wrap-up. Stay tuned for a wrap-up of the 2011 legislative session coming soon. You can plan to get in on the action in 2012—consider joining next year’s Humane Lobby Day to support legislation that will improve the lives of animals throughout the state.