08 May Spotlight on Nancy Pennington: A Lifetime of Caring for Animals
Our newest community member, Nancy Pennington, is a longtime and passionate advocate for the protection, well-being, and better treatment of all our friends in the animal kingdom. We asked her about this aspect of her life story and she shared the following:
There have been great triumphs and huge disappointments in my life as an animal advocate. I’ve been honored, praised, threatened and arrested. But always, I’ve recognized the need to defend animals who can’t speak for themselves.
There are many ways to help animals but every effort, no matter how small, makes a huge difference in their well-being. We can reduce the euthanasia of healthy, loving dogs and cats through spay/neutering campaigns. Approximately 1.5 million dogs and cats are killed each year because there are not enough homes for them. Legislation to improve the horrific treatment of factory farmed animals is on the rise. Much progress is being made in reducing or eliminating the suffering of animals exploited in circuses and zoos, the fur/down and clothing industry, and unnecessary experimentation.
Along with many dedicated people, I spearheaded the successful passage of two bills in Washington State. The first banned the practice of hound hunting where dogs wearing radio-controlled collars chase cougars up trees so waiting hunters can shoot the desperate animals. It also prohibited bear baiting in which hunters put out treats to lure bears all summer so when opening day of hunting season began the unsuspecting bears were killed. The other legislation banned steel-jawed leghold traps. I coordinated volunteers to collect the requisite number of signatures and collected 40,000 signatures myself.
I co-founded Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants. Our mission was to retire the three elephants from their impoverished existence in a one acre exhibit to PAWS sanctuary in California. There they would have the freedom to live as close to being wild as possible. The decade-long effort was supported by Seattle’s City Council, Mayor, the public and the media, and yet Seattle’s (private) zoo
sent the elephants to another zoo. One died soon after arriving. Despite the tragedy for the elephants, we brought awareness to the inherent cruelty of caging wild animals.
I’ve learned that success for animals comes in baby steps. We can all do our part to alleviate the suffering of innocent animals one meal at a time, by what we wear, and by our entertainment choices.
– Nancy Pennington