About PAWS

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) captive wildlife sanctuaries are places where abandoned, abused, or retired performing animals and victims of the exotic animal trade can live in peace and dignity. For more than 27 years 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.

Founded in 1984, by former Hollywood animal trainer and author Pat Derby, and her partner, Ed Stewart, PAWS maintains three sanctuaries for captive wildlife in Northern California.

The original PAWS SANCTUARY, comprised of 30 acres in Galt, California, is a haven of treasured memories and senior residents enjoying their Golden years, oblivious to the passing of time. As preparations continue with construction of new animal habitats and the relocation of the remaining animals from the Galt facility to the expanded 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, PAWS hosted its final Galt Sanctuary open house on May 21, 2011. The sanctuary is home to monkeys, lions, tigers, a mountain lion, black leopard, serval cat and a coyote named Jackie.

The AMANDA BLAKE MEMORIAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, 100 acres in Herald, California, established in Ms. Blake’s memory, provides refuge for emu, fallow deer, eland, and a herd of scimitar-horned oryx. Through this sanctuary, PAWS continues Amanda’s commitment to the protection of animals in captivity as well as in the wild.

ARK 2000, 2,300 acres of pristine, natural habitat in San Andreas, California. ARK 2000 is currently home to 9 elephants, 5 lions, 6 bears and 26 tigers.

Pat Derby, Ed Stewart, and PAWS have been featured on “Entertainment Tonight”, “The Crusaders”, “Inside Edition”, “Nightline”, “Inside America’s Courts”, “The World’s Most Dangerous Animals”, “Dateline”, “20/20”, “Animal Planet”, “The Leeza Show”, “Montel Williams”, ” The Today Show”, “CBS Evening News”, “The Fine Living Network”, “Animal Planet”, “PBS Television” and other local and national television news and radio programs educating the public on the need to protect wildlife habitat and to control captive breeding of exotic animal species.

Pat Derby and Ed Stewart have pioneered a method of elephant handling that uses NO bull hooks, weapons or aversive training techniques. PAWS was the first facility to use this “non-dominance” technique successfully, and since 1985, the work of Derby and Stewart has been a model for elephant handlers around the world.

PAWS is internationally recognized as a leader in animal welfare; among our greatest concerns is the treatment of animals in traveling shows, animal acts, television and movies, captive breeding, the exotic animal trade and inadequate standards of care for all captive wildlife.


1 thought on “About PAWS

  1. i love what you do. I live in Tennessee where we also have a sanctuary. The elephant one.Love it too. keep up the good work and someday i will get to visit you. kka

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