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Since 1984, The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades. PAWS investigates reports of abused performing and exotic animals, documents cruelty and assists in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of captive wildlife.




The five elephant habitats at ARK 2000 provides the elephants with hundreds of acres of varied natural terrain to roam, lakes and pools to bathe in, and elephant barns equipped with heated stalls and a indoor therapy pool.
Learn More »



Pat Derby, June 7, 2012


A Benefit for the Pat Derby

Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000

Dear PAWS friends,

We invite you to be a part of a very special event, the "Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea", a benefit to be held in honor of the late Pat Derby, co-founder of PAWS.

Pat loved her tea, and she enjoyed dropping in at local tea rooms in any city she visited. Elephant teapots were a popular gift for her to give and receive. The photo above shows Pat celebrating her birthday at the Linde Lane Tea Room in 2012.

The "Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea" will be held at the Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon, California (near Sacramento), from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Pat's birthday, June 7, 2015, to raise funds for the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center (veterinary clinic/hospital) currently under construction at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California.

Over aromatic cups of tea and a lavish lunch, we will pay tribute to Pat's amazing life and groundbreaking work on behalf of performing wild animals. PAWS president Ed Stewart, Pat's partner of 37 years, will share stories about Pat and the animals she loved, and he will talk about how PAWS continues to lead the way in protecting captive exotic animals.

KFBK's Kitty O'Neal and Dr. Kristina Wiley, DDS, proprietor of Linde Lane Tea Room, will host the event, which promises fun, laughter, special guests, and prizes for the best animal-themed hats and tiaras. A delightful five-course vegetarian menu is being prepared and donated (thank you!) by Linde Lane chefs for this special day.

We look forward to sharing this festive afternoon with you! Seating is very limited (70 guests) so we advise you to purchase your tickets to this exclusive event as soon as possible.

For more information about this event, including menu and ticket prices, please click here.


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An Update on Arthur,

the Golf Course Bear

Arthur, one of eight black bears currently living at PAWS, was born in the wild and had been living in a culvert on a golf course in southern California before his arrival at our Galt sanctuary 13 years ago. After receiving numerous reports about a bear seen "hobbling on three legs" at the golf course, he was finally captured by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW). X-rays revealed the bear had been shot and the buck shot was embedded in his hips, too deep to be removed. Arthur was treated by veterinarians from both CDFW and U.C. Davis and transferred to PAWS on March 5, 2002. Our veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, developed a treatment plan to address his pain and arthritis. At the time, Arthur's age was estimated to be around 10 years.

Today, at the estimated age of 23, Arthur is doing well and walking on all fours. He enjoys his large, specially-designed grassy habitat at our Galt sanctuary, a home that includes two pools, pine and fruit trees, and honeysuckle vines. Each day he spends hours searching through the tall grass and trees looking for acorns that his keepers have scattered in the brush or hidden in the trees.

Arthur, like most bears, has a sweet tooth, and each day his dedicated keepers make sure that he gets special medications and supplements, hidden in fresh fruits like pears, apples, or strawberries. Another favorite treat is sweet clover. The clover does not grow inside his habitat, but the Galt staff regularly picks it from other parts of the sanctuary to give to this special bear.

Arthur's habitat has sunny spots, as well as many cool and shaded areas. Arthur can choose where he wants to be depending on his mood and the weather. In cool weather, and in the early morning, Arthur can usually be found curled up in a shallow hole that he dug for himself in the dirt. It is lined with a deep layer of straw bedding. On cool, sunny days he likes lying on his back with his legs up in the air - a very relaxed pose for a bear! Another favorite lounging spot, according to keeper Nicole, is beneath his apricot tree, where he will occasionally reach up, pull down a low branch, and snack on the fruit at his leisure. And of course, he does love his pools and often takes a dip after breakfast, as well as frequent soaks in the cool water when the weather is warm.

Please consider making a donation to PAWS in honor of Arthur, or becoming an adoptive parent to this wonderful bear. You can also help Arthur by purchasing a bottle of Cosequin DS, a glucosamine supplement for arthritis, that Arthur and other older animals at PAWS take each day. Dr. Gai has listed it on our Amazon Wish List. Click here to view.


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Jesus the Tiger: In Memoriam

We are saddened to share the news that Jesus, one of the rescued Colton tigers, has passed away. Jesus endured many years of neglect, and survived horrific and dangerous conditions at a now-defunct roadside zoo in Colton, California. In 2004, PAWS accomplished the single largest rescue of big cats in U.S. history when we provided a permanent home and lifelong care for 39 tigers from this facility.

Once at PAWS, Jesus and his companion Pele soon learned to relax and enjoy a large, grassy, oak-forested habitat at ARK 2000, complete with swimming pools. For the first time in their lives, these two elderly, battle-scarred tigers no

longer had to fight for their food and live in filthy cages. Even though each of them had his own spacious den box to sleep in, Jesus and Pele chose to sleep together and were never far apart. When Pele passed away in 2009, Jesus took some time to adjust to the loss of his companion, but soon appreciated the company of other nearby tigers, Rex and Sunita.

Jesus was always frail due to severe arthritis and degenerative disc disease of his neck and spine. Curvature of the spine, known as kyphosis, is often seen in older captive big cats, and many factors play a role in its development including irresponsible in-breeding, poor nutrition, and severe confinement. As he aged, Jesus also experienced occasional seizures. PAWS' dedicated keeper staff made sure that he was always comfortable and built special low sleeping platforms that were easy for him to climb on and off of, and they also enclosed his very own section of grassy habitat when he began to have trouble walking up and down hills. He always had an excellent appetite, so it was easy to make sure he took all of his daily medications for arthritis and seizures, hidden in bits of meat. 

Jesus had wide, golden eyes and an inquisitive personality. Our veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai recalls Jesus fondly. He would always approach the fence and vocalize a special greeting whenever she came to check on him. Jesus held a special place in our hearts, as this tough little survivor always seemed to approach life with trust and optimism despite a long history of mistreatment.

Jesus' comfort and mobility took a sudden decline, and he was humanely euthanized on April 17th, surrounded by many who loved him. We will miss this special tiger. 

None of the rescued Colton tigers arrived with a medical record. Dr. Gai has had to estimate their ages based on the condition of each tiger's teeth. Jesus was approximately 21 at the time of his death. To learn more about the Colton Tiger rescue, click here to watch "39 tigers" a documentary by William Nimmo, founder of "Tigers in America."


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PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and African elephant 71, walking through the hills at ARK 2000. Pat and Ed rescued 71 in 1986; she was PAWS' founding elephant. 71 died in 2008 - read about her here.


PAWS Remembers Pat Derby

It's hard to believe it's been two years since the passing of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who died on February 15, 2013, after battling cancer. Pat’s indomitable spirit and passionate drive continues to guide us in everything we do today, from animal care to advocacy. Pat co-founded PAWS with Ed Stewart, who continues to lead and build the organization, so that wild animals used in entertainment have a true advocate and a place of safety and sanctuary.

Once a famous exotic animal trainer in Hollywood, Pat saw that animals were suffering and dying for people’s entertainment. This is what led her to write her tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, which exposed the dark side of animal training in the entertainment industry. She knew that trainers never abused the animals in front of everyone on a film set – it always happened in private. Animals were sometimes savagely beaten so a trainer could assure a quick and consistent performance once the cameras were rolling. Though many people in the entertainment industry knew what was happening, Pat was the first to take action and inform the public of the real price that animals pay for their entertainment.

“The work that Pat started over 30 years ago is more vital than ever,” said Ed Stewart, recalling how he and Pat carefully documented the horrific lives of animals used in live entertainment, especially circuses, and started the worldwide effort to end their suffering. “Pat started the war on circuses that use wild animals. She was THE voice for lions and tigers in tiny traveling cages and elephants chained by their legs in trucks and railroad cars,” said Stewart. “Pat Derby was proud to be ‘enemy number one’ to the circus industry.”

Unfortunately, turning a blind eye to the suffering that animals endure for entertainment continues today in film and beyond – from orcas to elephants, from TV advertisements to roadside zoos to circuses and elephant rides. Under Ed Stewart’s strong direction PAWS is tackling these issues and advocating for captive exotic and wild animals – just as Pat wished. She believed in not only giving animals sanctuary, but vigorously opposing the powerful industries that exploit them, something PAWS continues to do. We educate the public, work to pass key legislation, and use the media to spread the word about the cruel training and use of elephants, big cats, bears, nonhuman primates and other wild animals who suffer a lifetime for a few moments of “entertainment.”

Pat was a remarkable woman, a fearless warrior for the animals who made a real difference for captive wildlife. Everything she did was for the animals – and we continue to honor her legacy each and every day.

The following videos were created in honor of Pat Derby and shown during the PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala and the International Captive Wildlife Conference in November 2014.


The early years. (click on the picture to play video.)


It had to begin with elephants. (click on the picture to play video.)





At PAWS Sanctuaries rescued animals live in peaceful, natural habitats, free from fear, chains, and harsh confinement. They are at complete liberty to act out natural behaviors in the comfort of their individually designed enclosures. PAWS' animals are not bred, traded, sold, rented or forced to perform in any way. PAWS educates the entertainment industry, public officials and the general public in humane care and treatment of captive wildlife.

Through our public awareness campaigns, more and more actively concerned individuals are becoming aware of the problems inherent in the breeding of wildlife in captivity and the use of animals in entertainment. Learn More »



PAWS Advocacy Updates and

Ways You Can Take Action for Animals

When PAWS President Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby founded PAWS in 1984, it was the only animal organization with a comprehensive captive wildlife program. Ed shot some of the first-ever undercover video exposing the abuse of elephants in circuses, showing elephants buckling under the blow of the bullhook.

Many people know PAWS primarily for our work in providing sanctuary for captive wildlife in need, but advocacy is a critical part of our mission. Without it, we would never see an end to the suffering of wild animals used in entertainment, roadside zoos, and those kept as exotic "pets."

Read about PAWS' advocacy work below.


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San Francisco Bans

Wild Animal Performances

San Francisco is officially the largest U.S. city to ban all performances by wild or exotic animals. The ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has been formally adopted. Supervisor Katy Tang introduced the measure.

PAWS is proud to have contributed to this very important effort, which was spearheaded by the League of Humane Voters - California. Ed Stewart spoke at the Public Safety Committee meeting early in April, encouraging members to support this important action.


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BREAKING NEWS - May 22, 2015

California Senate Passes SB 716, Bill to Prohibit Use of Bullhooks on Elephants

Today, the California Senate passed SB 716 by a vote of 29 to 7! The bill would ban the use of bullhooks and similar devices on elephants. PAWS is one of the key sponsors of the bill, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara. SB 716 now moves to the Assembly.

The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. It is commonly used in circuses, rides and other "entertainment" to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. Elephants are taught at a young age to associate the bullhook with pain by using it to forcefully prod, hook and strike the animals on sensitive parts of their bodies, sometimes causing wounds and lacerations. This inhumane training continues throughout their lives.

PAWS has been working hard to pass this measure which is critical to protecting captive elephants from harm. In addition to keeping our California members active with calling and emailing their state senators (they heard you loud and clear!), PAWS has been meeting with senators and their staff, urging a yes vote on SB 716.

Nearly a dozen cities and counties in the state have restricted the use of elephants and/or the use of bullhooks on elephants, including Los Angeles and Oakland. San Francisco has banned exotic animal performances. Only the Kern County Fair continues to offer elephant rides, but will end them in 2017. No AZA-accredited zoo in California uses a bullhook. Now is the time to end the use of this cruel weapon state-wide, but we need your help to do it!

Please support our efforts to pass the bullhook ban in the California Assembly by making a donation to PAWS today. Most of our budget is dedicated to caring for the elephants and other animals at our sanctuaries, leaving little for important advocacy efforts. Your generous gift will help free elephants in California from a life of pain and fear and set the stage for more legislation across the country on behalf of performing wild animals.

Click here to view a list of organizations supporting SB 716.

Here's how California senators voted:


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SB 716 - California Legislation

to Ban the Bullhook

PAWS is proud to be a key sponsor of legislation that would ban the use of bullhooks in California, SB 716.

Introduced by state senator Ricardo Lara, the bill would strengthen existing state laws protecting elephants from abuse. PAWS is working alongside the Humane Society of the United States and the Oakland Zoo on this important effort.

The bullhook is a steel-tipped weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened tip and hook at the end. It is used to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. Handlers forcefully prod, hook and strike elephants on sensitive parts of their bodies before and during performances, and as a matter of routine handling. Even when not in use, the bullhook is a constant reminder of the painful punishment that can be delivered at any time.

PAWS has worked with elephants for more than 30 years and, even though we work with bulls and highly dangerous elephants, we have never once used a bullhook. There simply is no way to humanely use a bullhook.

In California, elephants are forced to perform in visiting circuses, to give rides and are used in advertising and film, all the while being subjected to the abusive bullhook.

On April 28, SB 716, the California Bullhook Ban, passed its first hurdle when the Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 in favor!

California residents — to help us end the use of this cruel and archaic weapon click here! For more information, please contact Catherine Doyle, PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, at

Read Senator Lara's press release here.



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AB 96 - California Legislation to Ban Sales of Ivory and Rhino Horns

PAWS continues to work on this important bill that addresses the destruction of elephants and rhinos for the illegal wildlife trade. These iconic animals are being poached at alarming rates - an average of 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa, and more than 1,000 rhinos out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild were poached in South Africa alone in 2014. They are being gunned down and poisoned so their tusks or horns can be sold as expensive trinkets and symbols of social status. Unless action is taken now, elephants and rhinos are headed toward extinction.

If you live in California and would like to help, PAWS is looking for volunteers to help collect postcards signed by people in your community who support this important bill. We are especially in need of supporters from the Central Valley area. If you can help, please contact Catherine Doyle at Provide your name, mailing address, and the number of postcards you need. We are asking that people commit to collecting at least 25 signed postcards. Postcards must be collected and sent back to PAWS.

If you have not already contacted your California Assembly member, please call and urge him or her to support AB 96. Follow up your call with an email. Click here to locate your Assembly member. Follow the link to find your Assembly member's contact information, including phone number. You can send a message via the on-line contact form.


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Top Hollywood Celebrities

Urge Support for California Bill

to Protect Wild Elephants and Rhinos from Slaughter

Some of Hollywood's most famous celebrities partnered with PAWS to lend their star power and support to AB 96, the bill that would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horns in California. More than a dozen entertainment movers and shakers signed a letter of support that was sent to California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, who co-authored AB 96. The letter's signatories include:

TV's Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari; Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger; Emmy Award-winning television legend Bob Barker; Actress Kristen Bauer van Straten of HBO's True Blood; Actress Jorja Fox of TV's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Writers and producers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Celebrity chef and author Courtney McBroom; Actor Ross McCall of Band of Brothers; Celebrity jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald; Actor and comedian Kevin Nealon; Manager/Partner Radius Entertainment Oren Segal; Award-winning actress, comedian and producer Lily Tomlin; Award-winning director and actress Betty Thomas, Hill Street Blues

An estimated 96 elephants are killed for their tusks each day in Africa, and more than 1,000 rhinos out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild were poached in South Africa in 2014 alone. AB 96 would close a loophole that prevents the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory and would also prohibit the sale of rhino horns. California is the second largest market for the sale of illegal ivory in the United States, and these sales are estimated to have doubled over the past eight years.

Read the letter here.


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PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart recommends "Tyke Elephant Outlaw":

"Historic, fair, beautifully produced. I can't wait for people to see it. I wish my late partner and PAWS co-founder

Pat Derby could have seen this."


"Tyke Elephant Outlaw"

Shines at Sarasota Film Festival

The documentary film, "Tyke Elephant Outlaw," premiered last month at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida. Some are calling it the "Blackfish" (the documentary film about the orca Tilikum at SeaWorld) for captive elephants.

Even before the start of the festival, the Australian film, produced and directed by leading documentary filmmakers Stefan Moore and Susan Lambert, was chosen as one of the top 10 must-see films out of the 278 entries at the festival. The riveting documentary tells the story of Tyke, a female African elephant who came to a gruesome end in 1994 after she crushed her trainer before thousands of horrified spectators at the Circus International in Honolulu. She then injured a circus groom and charged out into the streets, where she died in a hail of bullets.

Tyke's story is told from the perspectives of former trainers and handlers, witnesses, and animal advocates. PAWS President Ed Stewart is featured in the documentary. He attended the film's premiere and participated in a panel discussion following the screening (pictured right).

PAWS had investigated Tyke in the early 1990s and discovered that circuses continued to use the elephant despite a history of behavioral problems, escapes, and causing serious injury to a groom. "If you've ever carried a sign, ever written a letter to your legislator, or wanted to know the real story about the abuse of elephants in the circus, you have to see this film," said Ed Stewart. "'Tyke Elephant Outlaw' exposes the despair, confusion and utterly miserable lives that elephants endure in the circus. It joins HBO's 'An Apology to Elephants' as two of the most important documentary films to address this issue."

PAWS cares for two Asian elephants, Gypsy and Nicholas, who for decades performed for the same circus company as Tyke. Fortunately for them they found refuge at PAWS. You can view the trailer for "Tyke Elephant Outlaw" and learn about other screenings of the film by visiting the documentary's website at


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Thank You April 2015

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

William Fedun: 10 lbs. of unsalted peanuts, one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium, one bag Missing Link Equine Skin and Coat. Patricia Connelly: two bags of Missing Link Equine Skin and Coat, one flex rake, shovel and spade set. Abby Sherman: two bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat. Joyce Hodel: one bottle of RenAvast, one box nitrile gloves size large, one box nitrile gloves size medium, 40 lbs. of oranges, two bottles Renal Essentials. Elizabeth Soles: one bag of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. Carol Haft: one bottle of Renal Essentials, one bag of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat, and one bag of Missing Link Equine Skin and Coat. Lanette Cooper: two bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat. Janice and Dan High: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Elizabeth Stokes: one bottle of Azodyl. The Joyce Family (Tracy Joyce): one 40 lb. case of oranges. Patricia Krisan: one bag of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. James Cooper: one bottle Renal Essentials. Katherine W. Milan: one bag Missing Link Equine Skin and Coat, one bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat. Anonymous: one weed trimmer replacement head, two bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat, two cases of copy paper.


View wish list items that are needed, but not included on our Amazon list here.





Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606 Office/Sanctuary
(209) 745-1809 fax

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