Board Position Statements

Coverage Area Including Intake Transfers from Partner Agencies

PAWS provides a safety net of pet retention services for the people and pets living in North Kitsap County and Silverdale WA. Financial Assistance programs require income qualification at 185% of federal poverty guidelines. Programs with no financial assistance component are open to all Kitsap County residents (i.e. Kitsap Lost Pets) PAWS transfers animals from area shelters and rescue groups to alleviate overcrowding and reduce euthanasia rates as our existing census allows. The priority for intake is within the PAWS service area (North Kitsap County and Silverdale WA). If no healthy/adoptable animals are in danger of euthanasia because of space issues then the geographic coverage for adoption program intakes would expand to the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, and then to Western Washington and Washington State. PAWS will not participate in out-of-state transports for rescue unless and until there are no healthy/adoptable animals in danger of euthanasia due to overcrowding in Washington State.

Humane Acquisition of Pets

PAWS supports responsible legislation aimed at stopping the sale of inhumanely acquired and distributed dogs and cats at area pet stores and providing opportunity for pet stores to sell animals that have been acquired humanely. Such examples include selling/adopting animals acquired from local shelters or rescue groups, or those bred by responsible local breeders.

1. Humane Treatment is defined by Brambell’s Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare: Freedom from hunger and thirst, Freedom from discomfort, Freedom from pain, injury or disease, Freedom to express, normal behavior, Freedom from fear and distress.

2. Responsible breeders are individuals who have focused their efforts on one or a select few breeds and through breeding, historical research and ongoing study, mentoring relationships, club memberships, showing, raising and training of these breeds have become experts in their health, heritable defects, temperament and behavior. Responsible breeders are well suited to educate and screen potential buyers/adopters and provide follow-up support after purchase or adoption. Responsible breeders take lifetime responsibility for the animals they have bred. (ASPCA)

Responsible Pet Aquisition

While PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap celebrates all facets of the human-animal bond, our primary role is serving as an advocate for animals. Sharing our lives with companion animals is a privilege that entails lifetime responsibility. Pets should not be acquired lightly, and the acquisition of any pet should also include consideration of the financial commitment to the pets’ health and well being. PAWS Community Assistance Programs (Hartstone Spay/Neuter Fund and Low Income Veterinary Assistance Fund) provide financial assistance to low-income families who have owned their pet for at least three months (90 days) and has demonstrated a commitment and availability to provide responsible care for the pet’s expected lifetime.

Approved July 2011.

Off Leash Dog Areas

PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap supports the development and responsible management of off-leash dog parks, with appropriate guidelines in place, as a means of:

  • strengthening the bond of companionship between pets and their people;
  • providing an outlet for dogs and people to exercise and socialize safely;
  • enriching the community by promoting public health and safety; and
    promoting responsible dog ownership.

Approved September 2010.

Protect Your Cat, Protect The Environment

In response to two compelling reasons, PAWS has taken an active stance in protecting both cats and the environment by strongly advocating that cats be kept indoors or provided with safe outdoor enclosures. Everyone who adopts a kitten from PAWS signs a contract to keep the kitten indoors-only or provided with an outdoor enclosure.

Owners need to be responsible for protecting their felines from cars and coyotes. They also need to be aware of the impact cats have on the natural environment. Cats are not wild critters, no matter what they tell you! You may think they’re keeping the rodent population under control, but think about this: every rodent and bird they kill is less food for the owls, eagles and coyotes, the natural predators.

The two stories demonstrate the way cat enclosures can protect pets and the natural environment.

“Our cats — Hannah, Ivan, Sterling, and Mercury — spent the first 5 and 6 years of their lives with free access to the great outdoors via two cat doors. They roamed far and wide exploring ditches, yards, and the woods. I never turned down our street free of the fear that I would find one of them injured or worse along the side. I attached nametags and reflectors to their collars and worried whenever they didn’t appear promptly when called.

“When we moved a few years ago, we made the decision to limit their outdoor adventures to the confines of our backyard. We weren’t sure how it would work with adult cats used to a lot of freedom, but they made the transition with surprising ease. Within weeks, they settled into a routine, casually patrolling the perimeter when they first go out, then forgetting about it completely as they get to the business of romping, sunning, or sleeping.

“Keeping our cats in and predators out, the fence has been a blessing all around — for the health and safety of the cats, the well-being of the birds and other small creatures in our environment, and for our peace of mind.

“The enclosure was relatively inexpensive, using black plastic piping and deer fencing, which works really well because it isn’t stiff enough for any critter to use as a ladder to climb in or out. It also has the advantage of being almost invisible to the eye, so we don’t lose the expanse of the natural environment.”

— E. Fox, PAWS Board member

“After losing four cats to cars and predators the past 12 years, we are relieved that Marmalade and his feline brothers and sisters are able to go outside safely.

Before the fence was built, Marmalade was chased out of his yard several blocks away and spent two days high in a tree before we heard his loud meows and rescued him. The electric wire on top of the fence delivers a mild shock to any animal or human that touches it. It is used as a deterrent to predators (coyotes) that can climb over fences.”

— Megan Bischoff, PAWS Board member