PAWS veterinarian Bethany Groves in the new surgery room at the newest PAWS location on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

PAWS veterinarian Bethany Groves in the new surgery room at the newest PAWS location on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

New Snohomish hospital makes ‘massive difference’ for wild animals

Lynnwood’s Progressive Animal Welfare Society will soon move animals to its state of the art, 25-acre facility.

SNOHOMISH — On a sunny Saturday morning, hundreds celebrated strides in saving wild animals.

Behind the doors of a new wildlife rehabilitation center in forested Snohomish, thousands of animals will be treated and released every year.

“Our veterinary team will restore an injured owl’s flight, a volunteer will feed dozens of orphaned baby birds and a tiny bear cub will find safe shelter in a facility designed to prepare her for the wild,” said Heidi Wills, the CEO of Progressive Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS.

The new rehabilitation center in Snohomish has been a decades-long dream for PAWS. After purchasing the property in 2014 and breaking ground in 2020, that dream came true Saturday as the organization celebrated the facility’s opening at 13508 Highway 9.

“The realization of this dream means great things for PAWS, but more importantly for the wild animals we all protect,” said Jennifer Convy, the organization’s wildlife director.

The 25-acre property will tremendously expand the center’s capacity and ability to treat animals. PAWS currently operates a wildlife center and animal shelter in north Lynnwood, where it can treat around 5,000 animals per year.

The new facility is expected to treat even more, Convy said.

Bethany Groves, a veterinarian with PAWS, expects her first patients, a couple of black bears, to arrive at her brand new operating room in Snohomish in the next couple weeks.

They’ll be able to try out the new space and tell veterinarians what they think, she joked.

For Groves, the new facility will make a “massive difference.” She will be operating on 200-pound black bears in a surgery center quadruple the size of her old cramped operating room in Lynnwood.

There, veterinary staff could hardly fit a black bear of that size through the door.

As the demand for wild animal care rose, the organization outgrew the Lynnwood facility, Wills said at the ribbon cutting Saturday. The Lynnwood animal adoption center will remain in place, but all of PAWS’ recovery work will transfer to Snohomish.

Everything at the new rehabilitation center is designed with the animals in mind.

Across the property, for example, enclosures are separated by size, type and habitat.

A big one shaped like a hexagon allows room for eagles and falcons to test out their wings following an injury. Since raccoons get scared when backed into corners, their enclosures are circular silos, making it easier to feed and care for them.

Convy’s favorite part about working in wildlife recovery is seeing animals return to their habitats once they have recovered.

Wild animals in all different conditions come to PAWS from across Washington. In 2021, PAWS took in a pair of bear cubs who had been severely injured in a wildfire near Lake Chelan. The cubs stayed in Lynnwood to heal and recover during the hibernation season and were released the next summer.

PAWS has a close relationship with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, so once animals are better, the organization works with the state to release them back to a safe habitat.

“Getting them back into the wild and fixing what was wrong is really helpful,” Convy said.

PAWS is opening its new shelter at the right time, said state Rep. Strom Peterson, a PAWS board member and Snohomish County Council member.

Last week, the state Department of Ecology issued a statewide drought emergency, excluding Everett, Seattle and Tacoma.

This summer, that could mean wildfires, smoke and other severe weather that endanger wild animals, Peterson said.

“And that’s where PAWS kicks into action,” he said. “We’re ready for any emergency that comes.”

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Tacoma-based MultiCare’s partnership expands reach in Snohomish County

MultiCare and Overlake say they will “invest significantly to meet the growing health care needs of the Eastside and North Sound communities.”

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Eighth Street in Marysville closed 8 days for railroad repairs

The road was closed this week between Cedar Avenue and Delta Avenue in Marysville.

A mountain goats in the North Cascades east of Marblemount in August 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Ahead of grizzly arrival, wildlife advocates assess past translocations

Moving animals has helped struggling populations to rebound. And advocates point to past examples as evidence that “it’s not ethical to do nothing.”

Julie Timm
Sound Transit’s $375K payout to ex-CEO didn’t buy help

Board members said Julie Timm would give professional advice to them or a future CEO after leaving, but she hasn’t been called upon.

FILE -- An engine on a Boeing 767 jet aircraft, at a Boeing facility in Everett, Wash., March 7, 2012. The Boeing 737 engine that failed on Southwest Flight 1380 is not the only one that has caught the eye of regulators: Engines on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and 767 have also failed, prompting questions about their design and inspection procedures. (Stuart Isett/The New York Times)
Boeing 767, built in Everett, gets 5-year lifeline from Congress

Boeing would have been forced to end production of the 767 Freighter in 2027 due to new emissions rules if not for the extension.

Snohomish County Jail. (Herald file)
Inmate, 51, dies at Snohomish County Jail

Around 3 p.m., corrections staff called 911 about an inmate, who became unresponsive as firefighters arrived. He died at the scene.

With the Olympic mountains in the background, Boeing's 777x lifts off from Paine Field on its first flight, to Boeing Field in Seattle, on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
1 dead, dozens injured after turbulence on Boeing plane

A Singapore Airlines flight from London was diverted to Bangkok, where more than 70 people were being treated for injuries.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Idaho man identified in fatal trooper shooting on I-5 near Everett

The deceased man was Marvin Arellano, 31, of Nampa, Idaho, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

State Sen. Mark Mullet, left, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, are both running as Democrats for governor in 2024. (Photos provided)
Did Bob Ferguson go too far responding to fellow Fergusons?

Ferguson wanted the secretary of state to redo the ballot. Mark Mullet, a Democratic rival, says such a move would’ve broken the law.

Photo by Gina Shields of GM Photography
Whidbey Island to salute the fallen for Memorial Day

All are invited to honor those who have fallen at three events on Whidbey Island.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.