RASKC commends Pasado’s Safe Haven, an organization of about 40 employees based in Sultan, Washington. This organization aims to “inspire humans to reimagine their relationships with all animals and their work ranges from helping individual animals recover from abuse at our sanctuary, to improving the way larger societal systems treat animals through investigations, education, training and advocacy,” according to Pasado’s Safe Haven Communications Director Stacey DiNuzzo.

“Pasado’s Safe Haven is committed to continuing to work to ensure that all the systems in our society respect animals — from the criminal justice system to our education systems to our own belief systems,” said DiNuzzo. “We want to help inspire people to think about their relationships with ALL animals, not just family pets. We also want to educate people about the negative impact that animals raised for consumption have on the planet, as well as the links between factory-farm animals and public health.”

“Susan Michaels, a former co-anchor of KING-TV’s ‘Seattle Today,’ and her husband, Mark, founded Pasado’s Safe Haven after Pasado the Donkey was cruelly murdered. Next year is our organization’s 25th anniversary!”

RASKC recently interviewed Pasado’s Communications Director Stacey DiNuzzo.

Please tell us about Pasado’s Safe Haven.

Pasado’s Safe Haven offers a 360-degree approach to ensuring respect for every animal. Our mission is to end animal cruelty and create a more compassionate world. The comprehensive nature of our work is unique. We not only care for animals who have been victims of cruelty, we also are trying influence the social systems that impact animal lives. We want not only to improve the response to crimes against animals, but also prevent cruelty before it starts.

We are the only animal sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest that rescues and rehabilitates all types of animals – dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, alpacas and more. We give them as much time as they need to heal both physically and emotionally, so that they can be adopted to loving families and live their lives in peace. This type of care is lengthy and expensive – the average cost of care for a dog or cat at our sanctuary is thousands of dollars per animal. It’s even more for larger, grazing animals.  We could not do what we do without the unwavering support of our donors.

We also depend on volunteers. Opportunities include helping with farm chores, Dog Towne, Kitty City, enrichment, spay/neuter clinics, food banks, office work, events, our youth programs, etc. You can find more information here.

What are some of your organization’s achievements that you’re most proud of?

Pasado’s Safe Haven started out as a grassroots organization helping rescue cats, dogs, and farm animals that had been abused or neglected.  We now have four comprehensive programs that address not only the rescue and rehabilitation of abused and neglected animals but also education and prevention programs as well as legislative advocacy.  

Pasado’s Safe Haven has a Statement of Solidarity with the BIPOC Community on your website. Can you tell us more about your organization’s work along these lines?

As an organization, we believe that compassionate action is necessary to dismantle systems of oppression. This is evident in our work for animals. And it is true as it relates to humans as well. We are actively taking steps to educate ourselves and grow as an organization to ensure that we are creating greater equity and inclusion in our programming, our staffing, and our Board of Directors.

How has COVID affected Pasado’s?

Many of the activities previously conducted in person at our animal sanctuary, including educational programs for children, are now done online. As COVID-19 restrictions improve, we will continue to offer these online programs, as they have allowed us to reach many more children in areas across Washington and in other states. We also are excited to welcome adults and children alike back to our sanctuary!

How would you describe the relationship between Pasado’s Safe Haven and RASKC?

We feel so fortunate to be able to partner with RASKC utilizing our mobile clinics to spay/neuter and provide basic care for pets in the RASKC jurisdiction. RASKC not only subsidizes these efforts to make it possible, but has partnered with us to provide much needed pet food to those in need. 

We have been honored to work with RASKC with special needs animals that may not be doing well in the shelter environment or who just needs more one on one attention.