Mission & Values

Our Mission

  • To build No Kill communities – starting with a No Kill Chicago – that respect and value the life of every cat and dog.
  • To end the overpopulation of homeless animals through solutions, practices and education.
  • To transform animal welfare by setting higher standards in the way animals are treated and developing a sustainable, solutions-based model.

We Value

  • Respect:
    • For each and every life.
  • Community:
    • Of people and organizations committed to helping homeless pets—volunteers, employees, donors, adopters, fosters, clinic clients, corporations, small businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies.
  • Innovation:
    • To constantly improve best practices and search out new ideas and strategies to save more lives.
    • To be a Learning Center that evolves and grows.
  • Pro-activity:
    • To solve difficult problems and to be prepared to offer emergency and crisis support.
  • Transparency:
    • That informs the public about the fate of homeless animals.
    • That allows the public access to truthful statistics about the likelihood of pets surviving private and public shelters.
  • Education:
    • That raises awareness about the realities that homeless animals face in the community and across the nation, providing a forum for people to get involved in effecting change.
    • That promotes and supports responsible pet ownership.
  • Sustainability:
    • Through financial management practices that maximize the impact and reach of our resources and ensure PAWS Chicago will always be a resource for homeless animals.
  • Compassion:
    • Toward all people and animals.

Our Progress

Finding Homes for More Animals Every Year

  • 5,872 animals found new homes through PAWS in 2013, up from 168 animals our first year in 1998, through:

‣ Our state-of-the-art, cageless, No Kill Adoption Center in Lincoln Park.

‣ Our innovative offsite adoption events.

  • We have united more than 31,000 cats and dogs with new families since we started.

Preventing Unwanted Pets From Being Born

  • We performed nearly 18,000 spay/neuter surgeries in 2013.

‣ Over ten years, this reduces the unwanted pet population by hundreds of thousands of animals.

‣ These surgeries are either free or low-cost for pets of families who cannot otherwise afford the procedure.   

‣ We perform surgeries both at the Lurie Clinic and on the mobile GusMobile which allows us to reach the areas struggling most with the issue of homeless pets.

  • We have spayed or neutered more than 159,000 pets since we started.

Defining ‘No Kill’

  • We save more than 96% of the animals that enter our program.  

‣ Euthanasia is reserved only for pets when medical treatment cannot alleviate suffering or for vicious dogs who pose a threat to the public.

  • Since PAWS Chicago’s founding, the number of homeless pets killed annually in Chicago has fallen by 71% — from more than 42,000 pets killed in 1997 to less than 13,000 in 2013.  By continuing these efforts, Chicago should be a No Kill community in the next five years.


* Euthanasia rates in Chicago were less than 13,000 in 2013.

Engaging the Community

  • Locally: By utilizing volunteers in every aspect of the organization to provide high quality care to all animals.
  • Commercially: By partnering with corporations who share the same ideals as PAWS Chicago in order to extend the organization’s reach and impact.
  • Academically: By building humane research and training programs with Purdue University’s Vet School and Maddie’s Fund to redefine medical best practices for animal welfare groups worldwide.

‣ At PAWS Chicago, pets with ringworm, parvovirus, FIV and other virulent diseases and lifelong conditions are treated with state-of-the-art veterinary care and protocols—each of these diseases means a death sentence in traditional shelters.

Fighting Animal Cruelty and Inhumane Practices on All Fronts

  • We’re teaching communities and children about the consequences of allowing dog fighting, animal abuse and puppy mills.
  • We’re working with legislators to raise the standards of care and transparency in animal sheltering, and to require that shelters provide accurate statistics of the probability of a pet’s survival.
  • We’ve sponsored legislation to eliminate inhumane and outdated care in shelters, including eliminating the gas chamber and mandatory training for euthanasia technicians in Illinois shelters.

Launching No Kill Academy

  • Building a global resource for shelters and individuals wanting to learn about live saving strategies and best practices.

Leveraging Resources To Maximum Effect

  • Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator, ranks PAWS Chicago in the top 1% of charities in the nation.
    • They graded PAWS Chicago as its highest 4-star ranking for nine consecutive years.
    • They recognized PAWS Chicago as the highest-rated Animal Rights, Welfare and Services charity in the nation in 2012.

Special thanks to Sabrina Nizzi for dog and cat videography.

Additional thanks to Sebastian Sparenga Photography, Caitlin Lisa, Heather Haseley, Dan Kasberger, Jennifer Girard, Malia Rae Photography, Richard Chen, Oscar Mendez, and Von Buzard for event and animal photography used on this Web site.

PAWS Chicago, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has been awarded a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the country's premier independent charity evaluator. Contributions to PAWS Chicago are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. PAWS Chicago is only able to help homeless animals because of your donations. We receive no city, state or federal funding.

PAWS Chicago's Forms 990 are viewable at guidestar.org

Meet Your Match® and it's logos/colors is a program of the ASPCA®.

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