Wednesday, October 16, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Tough times, job cutbacks hit animal group PAWS

Times Snohomish County bureau

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LYNNWOOD — Annette Laico started her day yesterday morning at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), where she is executive director, by taking out the garbage and vacuuming the offices.

The tough economy has forced PAWS, a Lynnwood-area pet shelter and the state's largest wildlife-care provider, to eliminate five jobs through the end of this year.

Three of the positions, including the janitor, were cut through attrition. But PAWS has laid off two animal advocates, including spokesman Richard Huffman. Laico says the cutbacks are temporary solutions because she expects the economy, and PAWS donations, to improve.

"PAWS is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and we expect to continue going strong through for the next 35 years," she said. "Just like all businesses, we've made a few small, temporary, painful but necessary cuts."

PAWS revised its $2.75 million budget this summer, cutting $250,000. None of the reductions, such as publishing three newsletters this year instead of four or five, affect animal care, Laico said.

The agency is asking for donations of dry food for dogs and cats, bird supplies such as walnuts and acorns, laundry bleach, baby wet wipes and disposable cameras for adoption shots.

PAWS usually cares for 12,000 animals a year through its pet shelter and wildlife operation. This year, however, the number of wild animals coming through PAWS' doors has significantly jumped.

So far, 4,365 wild animals have been treated by the nonprofit group, compared with 3,613 at this time last year.

Diane Brooks: 425-745-7802 or


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