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 nearly 70% — from more than 42,000 pets killed in 1997 to less than 14,000 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 18,000 in 2011.

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.