Frequently Asked Questions

I found a stray dog/cat, what do I do?

First, thank you for helping! A little help from everyone in the community is how we will achieve a truly humane society. Before bringing the animal to us, please try one or more of the following:

  1. If the animal was found within a mile or two of any houses, please go knock on some doors. Bring the animal with your, or a picture. Often “stray” animals are less than a mile from home. (Don’t assume it’s neglected or abandoned simply if it “acts hungry” – most animals love to eat even if they just had breakfast at home!)
  2. Post flyers around the neighborhood where it was found.
  3. Call us and we’ll look in our “Lost pets” book for a match. If we don’t find one, we’ll record your information in case the owner calls us later. Also call the Hermiston shelter as they also maintain a “lost/found” list: Humane Society of Eastern Oregon/Pet Rescue 541-564-6222
  4. Post a free ad in the East Oregonian
  5. Post a free ad in a local Craigslist
  6. Post a free ad in the Facebook group Eastern Oregon Pet Lovers Classifides
  7. Check or post to the lost/found pet boards at the local feed stores.


I’ve lost my pet, what do I do?

Many lost pets are picked up less than a mile from home. They might have been picked up by a concerned stranger who may or may not report to anyone that they found it – they may simply wait to see a “lost” flyer. Or your pet could be stuck somewhere (especially true of cats).

  1. Knock on neighbor’s doors, see if anyone saw your pet recently. Ask neighbors to check their garages/sheds/vehicles in case your pet snuck in and got trapped unknowingly.
  2. Post flyers around your neighborhood with a photo, your number, and the date the animal went missing
  3. Call PAWS and we will check our found pet reports, and put your information on our Lost pets list. It’s a good idea to call the Hermiston shelter as well, as sometimes Good Samaritans take stray animals there instead.
  4. Post lost pet ads and flyers at all the locations listed above for found animals.


I can’t keep my pet, can you take it?

It depends. Though we sometimes aren’t able to take in owner-surrendered animals right away, we can usually help with other options. Often we ask owners to simply wait a few days to give us a chance to make room in the shelter, find a foster home, or see if one of our rescue partners has space available. We can also offer advice for how to advertise to re-home the animal yourself if you are able. Please call or email so we can discuss how we can help.


What do you mean by “no-kill”?

“No-kill” has many components, but in a nutshell it means we will never euthanize as a method of population control in the shelter. Instead, we use other methods. For example, we try to reduce owner surrendered animals by assisting with community programs like low cost spay/neuter and low income food assistance; We are proactive with our adoptions, going to events, advertising our animals in several formats to reach a wide audience, and keeping our shelter clean and friendly and our animals healthy; We work with many shelters and rescues throughout the region to place our animals. This helps keep our shelter population down, and gives many animals a better chance at finding a new family. We especially utilize rescue partners on the west side of Oregon and Washington where there is much larger pool of adopters, especially the Oregon Humane Society of Portland


So, does that mean you turn animals away when you’re full?

PAWS is dedicated to helping all homeless and at-risk dogs and cats in Pendleton and surrounding areas. We hold the stray dog contract with the city of Pendleton so we always take in dogs impounded by police. For other stray animals, we perform “triage” to determine if the animal must be taken in right away, or if there are other options (for example: can the person who found the animal hold it for a few days, or is there a foster home available).

Though we sometimes aren’t able to take in owner-surrendered animals the same day it’s requested, we never turn away a pet owner in need without first offering them other options. Our single most successful strategy is to simply ask them to wait. Usually, owners who need to surrender a pet are able to hold onto it for a few days or weeks while we find a foster home, or can make room in the shelter through adoption or transfer, or find another no-kill shelter that has room.

By working with the surrendering owners instead of simply taking all animals no questions asked, we are able to maintain wiggle room for true emergencies that require last-minute intake of an animal.

Our one true restriction is that we do not take in dangerous dogs, although we do try to offer information, counselling, and provide resources for these rare cases.

The proof of the effectiveness of our “mostly-open-door” policy is in the numbers: in 2014, PAWS took in 854 homeless animals, and this was just our second year of full operation! (PAWS opened in October, 2012).


What do you do with the sick or injured animals?

Thankfully, most of the animals that come to us are healthy or have only mild disease or injury. These animals are treated in-house in our isolation rooms, or in special foster homes. Once they’ve recovered they’re put up for adoption. In the case of more serious cases, we use one of our local veterinarians. (And we are always in need of donations towards our medical fund!) We are also able to transfer some of the more serious cases to the Oregon Humane Society through their Second Chance program where they can get treatment. Animals that are gravely ill are humanely euthanized by one of our local veterinarians (these cases are rare).


What about feral cats?

We do not bring feral cats into the shelter, unless they are young kittens that can be tamed and then adopted out. Instead, we assist with TNR (trap-neuter-return). Contact us (uploading soon:  new LINK about TNR) for more information.


Do you offer discounts on adoption fees?

We often have discounts or promotions for different types of adoptable pets. Check in with us to see if we have a current “sale” going on. However, our normal adoption fees are already a great value considering you’re getting a pet that is already spayed/neutered (up to $300 value!), up to date on vaccinations, and treated for fleas and internal parasites.


Do you offer veterinary/grooming services?

We don’t have a vet or groomer on staff, and currently don’t allow outside animals to visit the shelter (except for meet-and-greets by appointment only).


If I donate, where does my money go?

All general donations collected help cover operating expenses which include all supplies needed for animal care (food, toys, bedding, vet care, etc), utility costs, insurance, employee wages, office supplies, and more! Donors can also choose to contribute to one of our special programs such as our veterinary emergency fund. Check out our donation page.


How do I report animal cruelty/neglect?

Please contact your local police department. PAWS is not an enforcement agency, so we can’t act on such reports. However, you can also report abuse or neglect to the Oregon Humane Society.