PAWS in desperate need of donations, foster families
If there’s one thing that many islanders have in common, it’s a love of animals — wild and domestic. Island residents are also well-known for their perpetual willingness to give back to the island organizations that support the islands’ diverse animal life.
One of those organizations, the Protection of Animal Welfare Society, Inc. (PAWS), depends entirely on the generous donations — from funding to foster care — it receives from animal-loving islanders.
For almost 24 years, PAWS has provided shelter and veterinary care for stray and abandoned animals on Sanibel and Captiva.
“We take in approximately 30 animals a year — mostly cats. Most dogs are usually returned to their owners,” said PAWS volunteer Pam Sullivan. “The Sanibel Police also call us when people have died and their pets remain in the home. For this reason, we urge pet owners to think about adding provisions for their pets in their will.”
Once the animal is rescued, PAWS takes great care in making sure the animal is safe and healthy.
“We are very fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with Coral Veterinary Clinic and they provide excellent care for our animals,” said Sullivan, noting that, once found, all PAWS animals are scanned for a chip and, if no owner is located during the chip scan, the animal is then treated for parasites, combo tested, spayed/neutered and undergoes any other medical treatment that’s necessary.
After the vet, PAWS volunteers provide foster care until they can find permanent homes for the animals.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers to foster animals after they have
been vet checked, while we try to find them a permanent home. Of the three
active PAWS volunteers, only two, myself included, are actually able to
Sullivan said that PAWS is always in need of foster families and permanent homes for the animals they find, but they also need money to keep the organization going until those homes are located.
“We accept donations of food and cat litter for foster families to use, but money works better because we really don’t have a facility to store food and equipment,” Sullivan said. “The money also helps us pay for veterinary care, which is very expensive and can add up very quickly.”
To avoid losing your pets, PAWS highly recommends having all your pets ID chipped for easier recovery and also, because of exposure to disease and preventable death by automobiles or wild predators, PAWS recommends that all pets live indoors.
“PAWS has basically taken over for Lee County, at least here on the islands. We want to keep the animals local because we’re a no-kill organization. Once the animal leaves the islands, there is always a chance the animal will be euthanized and we want to avoid that,” Sullivan said. “People on the islands need to know that if they’ve lost their pet or they see an animal in need, hurt or appearing to be alone and abandoned, they need to contact PAWS or the Sanibel Police Department right away. It’s funny — most people don’t think about calling the police, but that’s the best place to call first. They will find one of us quickly and we have a small facility on the island to hold the animal until a PAWS volunteer is located.”
If you’d like to help, donations in the form of a check can be sent to:
P.O. Box 855
If you find an abandoned or stray animal, call any of the following PAWS volunteers or the Sanibel Police Department (472-3111): Pam Sullivan (472-4823), Kathy Boone (839-5215) or Diane Barr (484-574-6419). For fostering opportunities or more information, contact Pam Sullivan, or find PAWS on Facebook (PAWS, Sanibel).