In recognition of its tireless efforts in the field of humane education, animal welfare legislation and policy development with respect to dog welfare, PAWS was given the first ever SPCA (Hongkong) Canine Welfare Enhancement Award 2011 at the Gala Night of the 10th year of the Asia of Animals Conference in Kempinski Hotel, Chengdu, China last June 12, 2011

PAWS’ President, Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, was also feted at the ceremony for having thought of the Asia for Animals conference and holding the first such conference in Manila in May 2001.

PAWS Exective Director Anna Hashim-Cabrera thanked the AfA 2011 organizers for honoring Nita who could not make it to the ceremony as she had to take care of her ailing husband.

Cabrera and the other PAWS delegates -namely, Heidi Guzon (PAWS Shelter Director), Charlene Laxamana (PAWS Shelter Admin Officer) and Dr. Wilford Almoro (PAWS Shelter Veterinarian) received the Canine Welfare Enhancement Award trophy for the organization. A cash prize of USD 10,000 was also awarded to PAWS by the Hongkong SPCA and the Gen Lin Foundation.

PAWS’ work in lobbying for the Animal Welfare Act and for blocking anti-animal welfare legislation such as the proposal to have Greyhound Racing in the Philippines and the tambucho-killing or use of vehicle exhaust fumes as a legal method of killing unclaimed Pound animals, including its humane education and media campaigns were cited as reasons why it received the award and bested all other nominees from Asia.

 “They’ve done fantastic work in terms of increasing awareness and pushing for laws and prosecutions. Their work no doubt improved the welfare of dogs in their country by leaps and bounds, and serves as inspiration for other Asian countries to continue pushing for laws that protect animals,” said Ryan Lau, China Outreach Director for HK SPCA- who was part of the Board of Judges for the award.

PAWS’ president, Nita Lichauco, started the lobbying for the law when she reorganized PAWS in 1986 and has also raised awareness about kind treatment of animals, beginning with the once-low regarded native dog who were usually just tethered or chained for life as guard dogs. Nita did the education old-school by visiting one school after the other with her small group of volunteers, launching public school lectures and esssay-writing contests

When Adonis the dog was rescued from the dog meat trade, the story of how he became a Doctor Dog or therapy animal was highlighted by PAWS. PAWS was among the first to join Animals Asia Foundation’s international group of Dr Dogs, but the highlight of Dr Dog Philippines was probably this – Adonis’ story. From rescuee to rescuer. People helping animals and animals helping people. Adonis visits pediatric cancer wards of government hospitals and brings joy to cancer-afflicted children.

Instead of focusing on the gory and unpleasant, PAWS strategy was to empower people through volunteer work, spay-neuter and adoptions – and this was the rationale for building the country’s first animal shelter with an active adoption and volunteer program. Dubbed “PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center” or PARC, the shelter aimed at using sheltering as a tool for education and campaigning, in order to benefit more animals.