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About PAWS

The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals.

Our Mission

PAWS seeks to provide the resources, education, and programs needed to improve animal welfare.

Our Humane Services Division oversees the care of the animals taken into the Adoption Center and Vet Clinic.

Our Animal Control Services Division enforces animal related ordinances; investigates animal cruelty, neglect, and abuse; takes custody of stray, abandoned, and surrendered animals; provides support to police, fire, and related agencies; educates residents about responsible pet ownership.


Animal Care and Adoptions

Foster Care

Humane Education

Volunteer Opportunities


Temporarily Closed

Now Accepting Veterinarian Applications


Animal Rescue

24-Hour Emergency Services

Lost and Found Services

First Strike Campaign

Our History

The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society was first incorporated in 1976. We have played a key role in the field of animal care and control in Northwest Florida for decades with dedication. Our first facility was a small building in Valparaiso, Florida. In 1986, the shelter was renamed the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, affectionately known as PAWS. Today, we serve over 160,000 residents in Okaloosa County and surrounding communities.


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