PAWS: Advocacy in Action!

Captive Elephants


Since its founding in 1984, PAWS has advocated on behalf of captive wild and exotic animals, using our expertise and experience to bring about large-scale changes. We have been instrumental in helping to pass legislation ranging from elephant protection to bullhook bans to a prohibition on canned hunts, where wild animals are penned in and shot at close range. This year has seen a flurry of legislative activity, especially in our continuing efforts to ban the bullhook.


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.

California Senator Ricardo Lara
addresses the crowd at a rally for the elephants
held in Sacramento on June 23rd.

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 is a key sponsor of SB 716, the California bill introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara that would end the use of bullhooks and similar devices in the state. The state Senate passed the bill by a vote of 29 to 7, and we are now preparing for our first committee meeting in the Assembly. PAWS is working alongside our partners at the Oakland Zoo and the Humane Society of the United States to make California the first state to prohibit the use of bullhooks on elephants.


For PAWS, banning the bullhook is personal because we have seen its terrible mark left on elephants who have arrived at our sanctuaries. Elephants like Nicholas (pictured at top of page), who had to learn that no one was going to hit him ever again. It was pathetic to see him flinch in fear when a keeper simply raised his arm. Today Nicholas is a different elephant. As a result of positive reinforcement training and encouraging words he now enjoys engaging with his keepers and willingly participates in training and husbandry care.


Wild Elephants


PAWS has been diligently working towards passage of AB 96, the California bill that would prohibit the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns. We are pleased to report that this bill was passed by the Assembly and has also passed its first hurdle in the state Senate, winning a policy committee vote on June 23, of 7 to 2 (Senators voting YES were Allen, Hertzberg, Hueso, Jackson, Monning, Pavley and Wolk. Senators Stone and Vidak voted NO).

Speaker Tony Atkins and supporters cheer for the passage of AB 96, the bill to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn in California.
(Click on the arrow above to view video.)

Elephants and rhinos 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 in 2014 alone. 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, these iconic animals are headed toward extinction. New York and New Jersey have already passed legislation - we hope to make California the next state to take this critical action to save elephants.


In addition to our campaigns in California, PAWS assists in efforts in cities, counties and states across the country to pass legislation concerning prohibitions on performing wild animals, bullhook bans, public contact with exotic animals, exotic animal ownership, and other captive wildlife issues.


Stopping captive wildlife suffering at its source has always been a key imperative for PAWS. Please support this important part of PAWS' programs for the animals by making a donation today!




June 23, 2015 - Humane Lobby Day in Sacramento,

presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).


PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart (center) was a featured speaker at a morning rally held on the steps of California's Capitol. The day was all about elephants, with AB 96 (ban on ivory/rhino horn) and SB 716 (bullhook ban) taking center stage. Ed is pictured with Oakland Zoo lead elephant keeper Gina Kinzley, left, and "CSI" television star Jorja Fox, right, as they wait for their turn to speak. Special thanks to the amazing Jorja Fox who took time out of her busy schedule to join PAWS for this event and to meet with Assembly offices in support of SB 716.


Above: New photos of beautiful Paka, a 15-year-old female Serval (small African wild cat) who lives at our Galt Sanctuary. Approximately six months old at the time she arrived at PAWS, Paka was brought to a Santa Clara, California, animal shelter by individuals who said they had trapped her in a feral cat trap. She was also reported to have been running along the freeway in the city of San Jose. There was no information about her original owners, what person made the decision to have her declawed, or the animal dealer who must have sold her as a pet. We would love to see Paka moved to a much larger habitat at ARK 2000 when funds become available. Donate for Paka's care here.

Can you believe this is a cake? This stunning work of art was one of the highlights of the recent PAWS fundraiser.


PAWS Remembers Pat Derby

With Special Benefit For PAWS Animals


The Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea was held on Sunday, June 7, at the Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon, California. An intimate crowd of 70 guests enjoyed a magical event filled with fabulous food, friends and fun. Held on the actual

Lindsay Williams (pictured)

created the elephant cake,
modeled after PAWS' first elephant, an African
named 71.

birthday of PAWS' cofounder, the late Pat Derby, this event raised more than $7,000 to benefit the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center currently under construction at ARK 2000.


Hostesses Kitty O'Neal (on-air personality from Sacramento's KFBK radio) and Dr. Kristina Wiley (owner and proprietor of Linde Lane Tea Room) warmly greeted guests as they were seated at one of the many beautifully decorated tables. Each place setting was creatively arranged, with unique china tea cups and saucers, elephant napkin rings, and a lavish goodie bag filled with small treasures.


Guests enjoyed a five-course lunch with each dish named in honor of a PAWS animal who was especially dear to Pat. No detail was missed - even the shortbread cookies served during the first course were shaped like lions! The highlight of this splendid meal was the show-stopping cake modeled after baby African elephant "71" who arrived at PAWS in 1986, and was raised by Pat and her partner, PAWS President Ed Stewart. Donated by Lindsay Williams, this work of art took her more than 40 hours to create. After viewing photographs and attending an ARK 2000 open house event and seeing the elephants in person, Lindsay

Volunteer wait staff included
Earth Island Institute's
Mark Berman. Mark is the Associate Director of the
International Marine
Mammal Project and
has been a friend to PAWS
for more than 25 years.

designed a cake that accurately represented "71" - right down to her eyelashes! Before the cake was served (only the base of the cake was actually cut) guests raised glasses of sparkling wine (donated by Woodbridge Winery) in a toast to Pat Derby and joined in a chorus of "Happy Birthday."


Between courses Ed Stewart shared special memories of Pat and the animals each course was named for. These nostalgic stories brought both laughter and tears and lent sweet and sentimental meaning to this special day.


Adding to the fun and frivolity of the event were some special games. During the second course, lucky guests whose "Cinnamon Bear" scones contained a hidden piece of chocolate each received a special prize.

"elephant" hat.

Nine attendees later took part in the "best hat" contest, its winner chosen by applause. And finally, a Pat Derby "trivia contest" kept guests on the edge of their seats until Kitty O'Neal announced the correct answers and the winner was revealed.


We will forever cherish the memories of this day, and we are deeply grateful for the generosity and hospitality of Dr. Kristina Wiley, whose dream of a benefit tea for PAWS made it all possible. Special thanks to the Linde Lane Tea Room staff and kitchen crew, and to all of our wonderful PAWS volunteer waiters and waitresses who poured tea, filled glasses and served each course with a smile. Heartfelt thanks to all of our guests, who by purchasing tickets and making special donations, helped raise an amazing sum of money for the Wellness Center. This new facility, located at ARK 2000, will be the first comprehensive on-site veterinary clinic at PAWS and will significantly expand our ability to care for the animals that call PAWS home.


Many of our guests came adorned with beautiful hats!


Happy birthday Pat Derby! You are missed.

Click here to view all of the photos
from the Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea.

Dollars for Dirt


PAWS spends a lot of money each month on dirt. That probably seems like an odd statement coming from an organization with a 2,300 acre sanctuary, but every month we bring in truckloads of fresh soft earth for the elephants. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, used to call dirt a magic elixir for elephants. After you watch this short video of Asian elephant Gypsy we think you'll understand why!


Gypsy had just been given a bath outside of the barn, and instead of walking out into her habitat she chose to come inside, where earlier a fresh pile of dirt had been dumped in one of the stalls. She dusts and rolls and then finishes off with a "loofah" (aka street sweeper brush) treatment before heading back outside.


Please consider donating to our "elephants love dirt" fund.


Elephants love dirt!Watch Gypsy roll and dust.
Elephants love dirt!
Watch Gypsy roll and dust.

Good News For Animals


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has designated all chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Now, chimpanzees held in captivity in the U.S. will receive the same protections as wild chimps, who have been listed as "endangered" for decades. The designation affects the export and import of captive chimpanzees, interstate trade, biomedical research, and other areas, by requiring permits issued by USFWS. The listing counters the impression that chimpanzees are not in dire need of help, due to their use in entertainment, research, and sales.

This month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed more than a ton of confiscated ivory in New York City to raise further awareness about the devastating impact of the illegal wildlife trade on elephants. Over the past 24 months, Belgium, Chad, China, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Hong Kong SAR China, Kenya, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates have destroyed stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory. An average of 96 elephants a day are killed for their tusks.

A BIG Thank You!

June Amazon Wish List Donors


Patricia Connelly: three large Kong toys for the monkeys, one 24-inch squeegee, four bottles of Renal Essentials, one bag of dry Natural Balance cat food, one pair hedge shears, one Fiskar limb cutter, one garden lopper, two bags of unsalted peanuts, one thermal imaging camera for iPhone 5 for Dr. Gai, one large Boomer Ball and one heavy duty Boomer Ball Bobbin for Nelson the tiger, two bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat, one 40 lb. box of oranges.  John Stiehr: one bottle of Azodyl. Elizabeth Trauring: one 8 lb. tub of Ground Flax Seed. Kinzie Sauer: one box nitrile gloves. Kurt Buckheim: one 30 lb. bag of dry dog food. Stephanie A. Leeling: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Lynn Castiglione: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Nina Dillingham: one tub of Ground Flax Seed, one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Gail P. Otis: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell, one tub of Ground Flax Seed. Chania Allen: one tub of Ground Flax Seed. Janet Harding: one bottle of Renal Essentials. Christine E. Fraser: one bag of Natural Balance Dry Cat Food. Tracy Foc: one 5 lb. Psyllium. Laura D. Box: one bottle of Renal Essentials. Ruth (no last name listed): three bags of Ultimate Skin and Coat, one bag of Blue Buffalo dry dog food. Anonymous: one bottle of Azodyl, one Libman scrubber brush, two bags of Blue Buffalo dry dog food, three bottles of RenAvast.


View wish list items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list, here.

There are many ways you can help PAWS animals:
Adopt A PAWS Animal
If you would like to help our animals, one of the best ways is to become an "adoptive parent," or give a PAWS adoption as a gift to an animal lover in your life. PAWS adoptions are symbolic adoptions only. No animal will be sent!
PAWS Amazon Wish List
PAWS Partnerships

Help us change the life of a victim of captivity by becoming a PAWS Partner.

PAWS partnerships help support our sanctuary operations and the day-to-day care of the animals.

Estates/Planned Giving
You can help us make sure captive wildlife in need of shelter will always have a PAWS sanctuary to call home!
Donate To PAWS
Three ways to give and every donation matters.

Donate Your Vehicle

Learn more 

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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606