About Paws

About Us

Paws Along The River Humane Society is a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization registered in Pennsylvania in 1931. A volunteer Board of Directors develops the mission and policy, ensures legal responsibilities are in place, oversees finances of its resources, reviews and approves plans and budgets, is an ambassador to the community, supports the executive director, recruits new board members, and evaluates operational performance. We are not a part of any government agency. However, we do receive a small percentage of funding from our City, Townships, and Boroughs within Warren County. Our main source of income comes from our adoptions, donations*, fundraisers, and our thrift shop sales. Also, grants, bequests, and legacies allow PAWS to provide animal services to our community. We specialize in matching pets to situations and people. This matching process helps ensure permanent and successful adoptions. We take the time with you and your family to assist in selecting a new family member. We get to know our pets and can give you valuable information in helping you to make a decision. All pets are spayed and neutered before adoptions are complete. We require a waiting period before taking a pet home. This time helps potential adopters decide what they truly want in a new family member. Our “Pet Visit” is a trial time that gives potential adopters a chance to view the pet in their home setting before adoption. We take care of any medical or behavioral concerns that may arise during the pet visit. Learn More about our Adoption Information Questionnaire. For the history of PAWS, click here.

*All donations made through our website are accepted and processed via PayPal.  

Check out our Paw Prints Newsletter below! 

Paw Prints Newsletter - Fall 2020 

Paws Prints Newsletter Fall - 2021

Paw Prints Newsletter - Fall 2022 

Paws Prints Newsletter Spring 2023

Warren Gives 2023 Video

Paws Along The River is an open-admission animal shelter.  This means that we will not turn away any adoptable pet that needs our help up to the maximum number for which we can provide. We are here for the homeless, abused, and neglected animals in Warren County. There are no time limits for animals at our shelter. Animals remain available for adoption as long as they are physically and mentally healthy. Paws will not euthanize for an illness that can be treated, behavior that can be modified, or length of stay, providing there is a quality of life for the pet.

As an open-admission shelter, we provide shelter and care to animals, who would otherwise have no safe refuge. Ultimately, we want to prevent the surrender of pets by helping owners with problems they may be facing.  We want to serve as a safe place to heal when pets are in need. We strive to send pets available for adoption to loving homes through our matching process.  Each pet is evaluated for health and behavior which helps our staff prepare them for adoption and loving home. 

PAWS chooses to look at the services we provide and our work as “LIFE-SAVING”.

Rescue * Rehabilitate * Match for Life 


212 Elm Street Warren, PA 16365
Phone: 814-726-1961
Fax: 814-726-3604



Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
   & Friday: 12:30 – 4:30
Wednesday: Closed
Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00

Sundays and Holidays: Closed 


Paws Along The River Humane Society is committed to building lifelong bonds between people and animals through education, community outreach programs, and the prevention of cruelty.


We envision a time when our community celebrates the human-animal bond; embraces the mutual benefits therein; and treats all fellow beings with care, compassion, and respect.


Susan Allen, President

Amber Carlson, Vice President

Penny Smith, Secretary

Rick Johnson, Treasurer

Kyle Gallo, Director

Julie Goff, Director

Tommy Smith, Director

Sue Colosimo, Director

Board Members:

Rick Johnson

Tommy Smith

Kyle Gallo

Amber Carlson         

Interested in Joining the PAWS Board? The PAWS Board of Directors is a volunteer board made up of dedicated people who believe in the mission of PAWS and cares for animals. Anyone interested in serving as a board member should send a letter of interest to the Board President. Mail to Board President, Paws Along the River, 212 Elm St., Warren PA 16365


Click to expand

  • Paws is an Open-Admission Organization – But what does that mean? +

    Paws Along the River Humane Society is proud to have an Open Admission Policy. 

    Our Open Admission Policy, more commonly known as "Open Access" is practiced by other area shelters as well.  This philosophy has been with us for over 80 years in Warren, Pa and it ensures that no animal has to suffer needlessly on the streets.  We love animals, so we accept them into our care and never impose a time limit on how long they can stay with us.  Unfortunately, the sheer volume of the animals coming to us outweighs the supplies we have available.  One can imagine how this puts a tremendous strain on our finite resources.  Despite these challenges, Paws is here for the animals every day. 

    Our Humane Society does not reject an animal in need.  We first try to help owners who are experiencing hardships keep their pets by providing education and other alternatives to relinquishment.  Failing that, we offer the animal a place with us.  We do have to euthanize animals, but only for reasons pertaining to health or temperament, and always with unwavering compassion.  We do not impose a time limit on an animal's stay here with us, and always strive to find new ways to accommodate animals with medical or behavioral problems, as well as enrich the pets in our shelter.  For example, some animals who come to us with special challenges can be taken to foster in a home for a time, which helps us evaluate them better as well as provide them with a nurturing environment.  Paws Along the River Humane Society strives to find homes for all adoptable animals. Our adoption rate is well above the national average due to the unique program our Shelter offers to adopters.  Before an adoption is finalized, the pet is sent for a visit to their potential new home.  This "Home Evaluation" better known as "Pet Visit" has been widely received and accepted as the best way to give the new owners insight into how the pet may be in their home environment.  We keep all healthy and friendly animals until they are adopted into new homes.  Visit our amazing animals at our Shelter today! 


  • How does that make PAWS different? +

    While an open-admission shelter like ours provides refuge to all animals at any time, many limited-admission animal groups pick and choose which pets they will admit. Some may refer to themselves as “limited-admission” because they do not accept pets that may need to be euthanized. Many open-admission shelters accept animals who have been refused by other shelters or rescue groups. And in every community, there are a number of pets who are not candidates for adoption due to medical issues or aggression.

    Sadly, some of these animals are severely ill or injured, or have a temperament which makes them at risk of biting someone. We, like other open-admission shelters, have a duty to the animals who are suffering to not prolong their pain. Paws euthanasia rate has steadily declined over the past decade, and we continue to strive to reduce the number of animals that must be humanely euthanized.

  • How does PAWS work to prevent the surrender of pets? +

    To help prevent pet surrenders, we offer our Pet Helpline and give pet owners a resource option. Our trained experienced staff will take the time to discuss the problems the pet is having and give suggestions and resources to help keep them in the home. We offer literature, access to our trainers, and do whatever we can to help pet owners solve their issues.

    Paws Pet Helpline
    (814) 726-1961.


The Warren County Humane Society (WCHS) was founded in 1930 in Northwest Pennsylvania as a private non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. The Warren County Humane Society was founded to provide services to the City of Warren and our surrounding county. Our primary purpose is the protection and care of stray, unwanted, and abused domestic animals in Warren County and was incorporated in 1931.

Historically, our Humane Society has continuously evolved.

In 1930 animals were housed on member properties throughout the 883 square miles of Warren County.

Our first shelter was established in Clarendon, Pa. with some dog houses on a small piece of property.

In 1960, a one-room shelter was established with cages that housed dogs and cats, and a small fenced area for exercise during good weather.

In 1977, our home was in the City of Warren when City workers helped build the Humane Society on Elm Street. This building would be home to nearly 1200 animals a year and made every effort to do our important work in very meager surroundings.

In 1978, a 50+ year lease was signed for building the Elm Street shelter.

In the 1980s the original building was expanded and altered to include laundry facilities, an additional set of 12 dog kennels, and an isolation room. Our primary goal is to find permanent homes for our pets. In consideration of that goal, our shelter implemented a temperament testing program for our animals as well as a unique pet visit program where pets can visit a potential home for 12 - 15 days to help the new owners understand their commitment. This program has proven to be very successful, and we have had fewer pets returned. Our cruelty program continues to be an important part of the services we offer our community. While initial efforts are directed toward education, we do everything within our power to protect the rights of domestic animals in our county, including successfully prosecuting violators of the State laws.

In the 1990s our shelter services and programs continued to expand, as did our collaborative efforts with local officials, veterinarians, and farmers. We provided pet adoption services, educational and volunteer opportunities, assisted citizens with animal behavioral issues in order to keep their pets in their homes, and assisted local police where animals are involved.

In 1996, we started our cruelty officer program and provided the Humane Officer for the county through a state contract, protecting hundreds of animals and taking the extra step to act as an advocate for our community's abused women and children by working closely with human services, law enforcement personnel, and the women's shelter.

In 1998 our garage was remodeled into three cat rooms.

Our location on the bank of the Allegheny River attributed to the deterioration of our building and presented many problems and deficiencies that could no longer be overcome by working with the existing structure. These problems included a shifting back kennel wall along the riverside, broken underground drains, dogs exposed to outside extreme weather conditions, inadequate cat room air handling system for controlling disease and odors, high heating bills, limited or lack of space for animal care and dealing with confidential matters, and insufficient handicap facilities.

In early 2003, a letter was written to two businessmen in Warren to ask for their help in making some difficult decisions for our building which was not serving the work and the animals we needed to help. Through their generosity, Bob Sokolski and Hal Connaro of Whirley Industries in Warren took up the challenge of assisting us in beginning a Capital Campaign to build a new Humane Society.

In 2004 our journey began and we never looked back. Thanks to the generous supporters of Warren and surrounding areas, our grants that were awarded, and all the caring hard working individuals that we can’t begin to thank enough, we raised nearly $900,000 to build our new shelter.

In 2007 we opened the doors to our beautiful new facility and have been helping animals in need from this location ever since.

In 2012 the Warren County Humane Society name was changed to Paws Along The River Humane Society

Paws Along The River Humane Society:

  • Is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization
  • Receives Minimal county & city funding
  • Is not affiliated with, nor a subsidiary of, any national or local animal welfare organization
  • Relies upon private donations, grants, legacies, bequests, fundraising events, and our Paws and Shop Thrift Boutique 
  • Relies on our many volunteers helping at the shelter to keep our animals well cared for


On December 17, 2014 the Paws and Shop Thrift Boutique was officially opened.  After nearly 10 years of talking and dreaming about opening a Thrift Shop, our Board of Directors approved this important step to help provide PAWS with a source of revenue for the future. Many hours of planning, training, and learning from other Thrift Shops helped us realize this dream. We had a team of amazing Board members who worked tirelessly to turn a blank leased space into a special place we can all be proud of. We are located at 4160 Market Street Warren, Pa., next to the Cinema III movie theatre. 

Paws and Shop Thrift Boutique is quite possibly the best thrift shop around!  We receive many generous donations of one-of-a-kind items and family treasures to help PAWS continue our important work of caring for the unwanted, neglected, and abused animals in Warren County. We thank everyone who donates items and shops at our store. 

Story Book of PAWS Pets

Sarge's Story

I've heard it said before from a couple different people that you find one true connection, one soul connection with one animal once in your life, if you're blessed. I thought they were looney and maybe you'll think the same of me after reading this BUT it's true. I met Sarge at Paws when we were looking to adopt. We visited a couple dogs and were on our way out the door to try to find a match another day. I felt him before I saw him. He was...

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Sarge's Story

Enzo's Story

Hi, all at PAWS!!! You remember me, my name was “BOO”, although kind of a cute name~I prefer the title of Enzo. My parents always wanted an Enzo, it only took a few days for them to know I would fit the name. I know PAWS gave me awesome care for the long time I was there. I am the perfect example that you can’t judge a dog while in his cage, I acted a bit crazy at times, but that is because I have soooo much energy to make my days fulfilled. I...

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Enzo's Story

Jack's Story

It was a frigid morning on February 2, 2015, when the 911 call came to Paws Along the River Humane Society. The operator reported that a man who had been driving down Park Avenue stopped when he saw a stray dog in the middle of the road. The temperature had been below zero for weeks, so we quickly responded. When we arrived, the man was kneeling down on the icy road with his coat over the dog. When he removed the coat, a black lab mix dog was...

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Jack's Story

Ruby's Story

"A gentle spirit" A small Boston Terrier was found on a deserted road in Farmington Township in late December. The weather was frigid with temperatures below freezing. Did we mention, a Boston Terrier, short hair, small, in December? The family that found her sitting by the edge of the road in the snow, scooped her up and took her home for the night to keep her warm. When they brought her to the Paws Along the River the next day, it was evident...

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Ruby's Story

Toby's Story

Toby was a smelly matted mess when PAWS found him on a junk-filled property in Pittsfield Township. It was hard to know he was a poodle. His fur had matted into long dreadlocks as Toby had never been groomed nor bathed in his entire eight years of life. The mats were painful, they pulled on his skin, and were even more painful to remove. His tired eyes held no sparkle; he looked sad and worn. He had never seen a veterinarian nor had any...

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Toby's Story

*Some images may be disturbing to sensitive individuals....