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Elephant with PAWS sponsors Pat Derby was deeply concerned about the animals she was training; then she met Ed Stewart. The two became partners. Pat and Ed retired their animals in the early 80s and moved to Mendocino, Ca. But stories of animal abuse prompted them to begin lobbying for the passage of legislation to regulate the treatment of exotic animals. In 1985, Pat and Ed moved to Galt, California, and established the Performing Animal Welfare Society.

PAWS shelters rescued animals on a 30-acre sanctuary in Galt, California, where casual drivers do a doubletake when they see cattle and elephants grazing on the flat farmlands. PAWS also now owns 75 acres (the Amanda Blake Wildlife Refuge) in Herald, California, and 2,300 acres in San Andreas (Ark 2000), where animals live unchained in sheltered-yet-ample space and are loved rather than trained to perform.

PAWS also works to strengthen laws on animals' behalf, helping to convince the California Legislature to ban ownership of wild animals and require permits to restrict their breeding. PAWS has also been involved in insuring the ban of such elephant discipline techniques as electric shock, food/water/rest deprivation and punishment which results in the scarring or breaking of an elephant's skin. PAWS introduced The Captive Elephant Accident prevention Act (HR2929) bill. PAWS sponsors conferences and forums pertaining to the humane and dignified treatment of animals.

The Peninsula Humane Society awarded PAWS the 1995 Humanitarian of the Year Award. PAWS has been featured on 20/20, Dateline, Nightline, Entertainment Tonight and on CNN and in numerous newspapers and publications including People Magazine.

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