CAMDEN — PAWS Animal Adoption Center is leading the pack when it comes to the safety of their visitors and animals, according to the Center, in a news release. The Midcoast Maine animal shelter has become the first to receive the Knox County Community Health Coalition Partnership Tobacco-Free Mini Grant for upgrading its tobacco-free policy to a model level.
“PAWS puts the safety of both the people and animals at our shelter above all else,” said Shelly Butler, PAWS executive director. “When we learned about the work Knox County Community Health Coalition was doing to promote tobacco safety, we knew right away we wanted to be involved.”
According to Breathe Easy Maine, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and pets that breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop cancer. Not only that, thirdhand smoke (the tobacco smoke residue that remains after a tobacco product has been put out) can stick to surfaces and contain toxins that resist normal household cleaning products.
“We have always been careful at PAWS but we saw this as an opportunity to really look at our policies and signage and consider how we can do better,” said said Butler. “Under our new policies, we’re much more confident our animals, staff, and visitors are safe and we feel good knowing others will follow.”
In addition to amending their tobacco-free policy and increasing signage, PAWS also started including pet-related tobacco education materials in their adoption packets and provided training to staff.
“It’s a wonderful thing that Knox County Community Health Coalition is doing,” she said. “We’re so glad to be part of it.”
For information on how your business can join forces with Knox County Community Health Coalition, a department of the Penobscot Bay YMCA, contact Becky Hayes Boober, Tobacco Prevention Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-236-6313, ext. 2. Currently, KCCHC is offering mini grants to help organizations and workplaces in Knox County upgrade their tobacco-free policies.
Established in 1974, the mission of PAWS Animal Adoption Center is to provide care for homeless dogs and cats until they can be placed in permanent, responsible homes, while promoting humane values in our community through outreach and educational programs.