Putting its best paw forward

LYNNWOOD — The winged, flippered and four-legged populations of Snohomish County had much to be thankful for this year at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society.

The national nonprofit agency in Lynnwood had another successful year, with highlights that included rescuing a kitten that had been left for dead in a dumpster and reaching out to children who want to help wildlife, PAWS spokeswoman Mary Leake Schilder said.

Still, there’s work to be done, she said.

“We’re definitely wanting to increase people’s awareness of coexisting peacefully with wildlife,” Leake Schilder said. “Most animals we get in the wildlife center are there because of a human impact, like they’re hit by a car or their nest was in a tree that someone cut down.”

Some of PAWS’s accomplishments for this year include:

In January, the nonprofit began providing shelter for stray animals in the city of Mukilteo. PAWS also helped the city strengthen its laws to protect animals, such as by making it illegal to have dog-fighting paraphernalia.

PAWS cared for 15 harbor seals this year at its wildlife center, which is more than usual. Most of them were seal pups. Caring for a recently weaned seal costs about $370 per week, plus the cost of any medical attention the animal needs.

Year-round dog training classes were started in partnership with Whole Pup in Edmonds. The classes, which build bonds between animals and their owners, are expected to continue in 2008.

Affordable spay and neutering services for pets owned by low-income families was made available by PAWS. Through the service, which provides spaying of an adult cat for $35, pet owners can also get free or discounted microchips for their pets. The microchips can be scanned by animal control officers to show information such as an owner’s name and address.

More than 3,400 children toured the PAWS facility or took classes at the center. PAWS began sending out e-mail newsletters to interested youth who want to help wildlife.

A 6-month-old kitten that nearly died from heat stroke after it was left zipped up in a duffel bag outside a Lynnwood apartment complex was nursed back to health at PAWS. Staff members at PAWS named the short-haired black-and-white kitten Sunny. The cat was adopted by two brothers in Arlington, who renamed the feline Mittens.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

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