The original concept started in 2015 when two Lancaster County dog breeders attended the ICAW dog breeder’s seminar in Indiana, they were strongly impressed and motivated by what they experienced. The ICAW event was energized, with the local dog breeders, USDA, local state reps and vets working hand in hand to support the dog breeding industry.
In 2016 a meeting was held with the PPDBA (Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association) Board and ICAW Board at a farm in Ephrata to explore and discuss if the PPDBA would support and encourage an organization modeled on the ICAW Concept. In February of 2018 a panel of Lancaster County dog breeders attended a USDA Meeting in Mt Hope, OH and had a meeting with the ICAW Board, USDA Officials, and IHAW with approximately twenty people in attendance. The PA men were encouraged to move forward and set up a board to support and encourage all dog owners. The PPDBA would continue to cover all state dog law and litigation issues at the Congressional level.
In the Spring of 2018, a meeting was hosted in Ephrata and was attended by about twenty dog breeders from Lancaster County, the topic of discussion was, “Do we need or want to form a board modeled on the ICAW/OFCA principals?” The consensus was to move forward.
A second meeting was hosted a few weeks later in Lititz. This time there were forty people in attendance consisting of the PPDBA board, local veterinarians, and local dog breeders. The question was, “Should we form an Animal Welfare Group that can support and endorse the dog owners in the State of PA?” The support was very strong and a decision was made to move forward.
A third meeting was hosted a few weeks later in Leola, PA and elections were held to elect the first board. The PPDBA board was present and counted the votes. Thus, the first PAWS board was formed consisting of 5 men. The founding board members were Henry Esh, Stephen Stoltzfoos, Daniel Stoltzfus, Michael Beiler, and Sam Zook. At a later date the name Pennsylvania Animal Welfare and Safety (aka. PAWS) was selected.