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Privacy Policy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) PAWS assures unambiguously that: (1) PAWS will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. (2) In special circumstances, PAWS will only share personal information once the donor has given PAWS specific permission to do so. Read more here.

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 provide 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 »



Above: African elephants Lulu and Toka


PAWS ARK 2000 in October:

Turning of the Seasons

at the Sanctuary

October is an interesting month at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary – a time of seasonal transition. Hot summer temperatures are giving way to cooler days and nights. And much anticipated rains are starting to come our way, bringing green grass back to the rolling hills of the sanctuary. The elephants are roaming, as usual, throughout their spacious habitats that look much like the African savanna right now. African elephants Thika (above) and Mara seem to especially enjoy making their way through heaps of browse – large, leafy tree branches that the elephants spend time disentangling, stripping, and eating. Read more here.


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PAWS Says Goodbye

to Beloved Bobcat Owen

PAWS is sad to announce the passing of bobcat Owen. This special cat was born in 2002 and purchased as a small kitten to be a "pet." Not much is known about his early life, but it is certain that he was not fed properly, as Owen’s skeleton did not develop normally. Metabolic bone disease is a common syndrome in young captive exotic animals who are fed a diet that lacks the proper vitamins and nutrients necessary for normal development. This nutritional deficiency often results in irreparable damage to developing animals, causing pain and disability throughout their lives.

In 2015, Owen was confiscated from private owners in California, where bobcat ownership is illegal. He was found in a small, filthy cage, in distress and unable to keep himself clean. When PAWS was contacted by authorities immediately after Owen's confiscation, we wholeheartedly agreed to offer him a permanent home at our sanctuary. Because of the nature of the confiscation, authorities asked us to keep his presence a secret until the legal case was resolved. He lived at our Galt sanctuary for five years in a "witness protection program" of sorts, until moving to our ARK 2000 sanctuary in the summer of 2020.

Read Owen's memoriam in our October newsletter here:


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PAWS Helps Orphaned Bear Cubs

Along Their Journey Back to Freedom

PAWS is often called on to help wild animals in need, but in this case three bear cubs will have the best outcome possible: They will one day again live as free-ranging bears!

It began with a phone call from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), asking if PAWS would temporarily care for three orphaned black bear cubs. The cubs had been found wandering without their mother in Mariposa County, in close proximity to people. Out of concern for their safety the agency captured them, and determined that the cubs were too young to survive on their own. Of course we said yes to caring for the cubs.

Read more about the bear cubs in our September newsletter here.


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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 Co-Founder Pat Derby

Pat Derby, co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, was a champion for captive wild and exotic animals, particularly those used in “entertainment.” Working side by side with her partner, current PAWS’ president and co-founder Ed Stewart, they set a new standard of care for captive wildlife.

Pat originally was a well-known Hollywood animal trainer. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wild animals for film, TV and advertising, she wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976), revealing a world the public never saw. This was the launch of her life’s work to educate the public about the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to realize that vision. In 1986, they established the first elephant sanctuary in the United States.

Sadly, Pat lost a long battle with cancer and passed away on February 15, 2013. But her spirit continues to live in PAWS' rescue, sanctuary, and advocacy work.

Pat’s bravery and vision for a better life for captive wildlife helped lay the groundwork for the profound changes we are seeing today, including the public’s increasing rejection of the use of wild animals in entertainment, whether elephants and tigers in circuses or orcas in marine parks, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to an end. Her battle against the use of cruel elephhant bullhooks has resulted in statewide bans in California and Rhode Island, with PAWS playing an integral role in their passage.

Pat remains an inspiration to everyone at PAWS and to the greater animal protection community. Her determination and fighting spirit continue to drive PAWS’ efforts to create a more just and humane world for captive wild animals, each and every day.


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 »



At PAWS, #GivingTuesday 2021

Is All About the Elephants!

Your #GivingTuesday gift to PAWS makes a HUGE difference to the seven elephants living at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. You provide them with a more natural life where they roam gentle hills, feast on fresh vegetation, and revel in the quiet and beauty of nature. Dedicated staff is on hand 24 hours a day/seven days a week to ensure their health and welfare.

#GivingTuesday starts at 12:01 a.m. on November 30th and ends at 11:59 p.m. but you can make your contribution now! Donations made between November 16th and November 30th count towards our #GivingTuesday total and will be added to the leader board on the day of the event. Thanks to wonderful friends, all donations will be matched up to $28,000. Click here for more information and to give.



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Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting

and the Big Cat Pet Trade

PAWS continues to support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R.263/S. 1210). The bill would ban the private ownership of big cats such as lions and tigers and restrict public contact with these animals, putting an end to cub petting operations and their enless breeding of big cats for profit.

Click here for more information and to see what you can do to help.


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Have You Taken the Pledge

to Help Elephants?

PAWS has launched a new campaign called Take the Pledge! to bring attention to the use of elephants for tourism and elephant “encounters” overseas and in the U.S. The only way to stop this form of exploitation is through education and by decreasing demand for these attractions.

Read more about PAWS' "Take the Pledge" campaign here. Click below to sign PAWS' petition on



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Thank you Amazon

"Wish List" Donors


OCTOBER DONORS - Erlinda and Frank Novak, and Kathy Stevens: three bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Laurel Grindy: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#.

SEPTEMBER DONORS - Theresa Dixon: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Valarie Marini: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Nancy Gordon: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; two bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Ann Lichtfoss: five bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Ben Suni: two Probiocin. Lisa Klotz: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Anonymous Donors: one bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; four Probiocin.

AUGUST DONORS - Jane G. Droogsma: 10 Probiocin; four 76.5 oz. cannisters of Gatorade; four 5 lb. bags of Missing Link; one DeWalt Saw, 10 amp; one pkg. DeWalt saw blades; 10 boxes of gloves, size L; 10 boxes of gloves, size M. Laurie Hutton: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link. Shawna M. Pilsl: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Willie and Jan Nelson: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. K. L. Adler: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Nancy Gordon: six Probiocin. Matt Donovan: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Pam Meadows: two bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Ronald Sutton: two Probiocin. Caroline Hendrickson: five 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Anonymous Donors: twelve 5 lb. bags of peanuts in the shell.


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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