Who We Are

Helping BC pets since 2011.

We are unstoppable optimists working to ensure that no pet gets left behind.

Paws for Hope envisions communities that embrace all pets as family, ensuring they are loved, free from harm. We are guided by a Code of Ethics and our mission is to keep pets and people together, ensure BC pets survive and thrive, and support positive change in animal welfare.

This includes direct program delivery, grant funding, advocacy, and professional development. By filling the gaps with our own direct animal assistance and educational programs while simultaneously strengthening and empowering BC’s existing animal welfare sector, we’re moving closer and closer to realizing our vision of a province that provides the utmost care and protection for its companion animals.

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A Message from our Executive Director

When Paws for Hope Animal Foundation was first founded, we had some ambitious goals. Our mission, at the time, was to work collaboratively and build capacity so that British Columbia might one day have the kind of protective and progressive animal welfare system that it needs and deserves. It hasn’t been easy, but we have managed to accomplish a lot over the past nine years and I am so proud of how far we have come in such a short time.

We have established the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC, bringing together animal welfare organizations from across the province to jointly address issues affecting our communities. We have held dozens of free veterinary clinics for low-income residents. We have increased access to vet care through financial assistance programs that help both rescue organizations and low-income pet guardians and are helping to change community bylaws to secure bans on pet sales in cities across BC.

The work that we do, and the approach that we take to this work, represents the future of animal welfare in this province. We are continually focused on system-wide changes focused on prevention, intervention, and sustainability. We are very excited about the coming years and are grateful to everyone who continues to believe in and support our mission.

The truth is that we couldn’t do it with out our wonderful and compassionate volunteers and donors. It is so encouraging to see all these changes happening and to the feel the support provided by people like you—people who believe in our mission and who give their time, energy, and money to help keep pets and their people together, healthy, and happy. We are making change, ending suffering, and saving lives and it is because of you.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director

Annual Reports & Financials

No Pet Left Behind

Saving lives

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation has launched an innovative program to assist pets whose people are fleeing violence.

Press Release

Better Together

Help for Bear

When Bear needed some unexpected veterinary care, our Better Together program made sure that he got the medical attention he needed.

Learn More

Our Partners

“Our forward-thinking, pioneering approach means we are continually focused on system-wide impacts to make our sector—and the province as a whole—better informed and more humane.”

Kathy Powelson

Thank you for your support


Paws for Hope also thanks The River Foundation, the Burnaby Community Foundation, and the Randall Foundation for their support.

We are also very grateful to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund distributed through the Community Foundations of Canada, Port Coquitlam Community Foundation, Coquitlam Foundation, Port Moody Foundation, United Way of Greater Victoria (and/or Victoria Foundation), The Maple Ridge Community Foundation, and the Vancouver Foundation.

Our Team

Paws for Hope is a small team passionate about animals and their ongoing care and protection. We’re even more passionate about finding a way to make animal welfare more sustainable in B.C. so we’re not stuck heads-down in emergency response mode unable to plan and build for the long term, especially important in a region that receives no government funding and sometimes limited corporate support for these animals.

Board of Directors

  • Dr. Shawn Llewellyn


    [email protected]

    Dr. Shawn Llewellyn graduated with honours in Animal Sciences from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture in 2004 receiving the Governor General’s Academic Award. In 2008, he obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island and was awarded with the Christopher Award in Animal Welfare. He has been a practicing veterinarian with Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital ever since. Dr. Llewellyn’s clinical interests include canine and feline dentistry, feline medicine, community medicine and preventative health. Shawn has spent numerous continuing education hours on veterinary dental procedures including courses through the International Veterinary Dentistry Institute. Shawn was awarded the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award for his work on the development of Paws for Hope’s programs that provide direct community based support to people and their pets. Dr. Llewellyn is also a current member of the Investigation Committee for the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC) and has served on the Animal Welfare Committees for both the CVBC and the Society of British Columbia Veterinarians. Born and raised in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Shawn enjoys frequent visits back to his home province to visit family and friends. He lives in Ladner with his partner and their cats Niles and Martino, and in his spare time enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, gardening, travelling and reading.

  • Katelynn Denny

    Vice President

    [email protected]

    Katelynn is an employment lawyer and workplace investigator at Forte Law Corporation in Surrey where she advises clients on all aspects of employment law and workplace human rights. Katelynn is passionate about using her knowledge and legal skills to empower not only her clients, but others in the community. Her volunteer experience includes providing advice and support to individuals who have experienced sexual harassment at work. Katelynn was born and raised in the Fraser Valley and has been an animal lover her whole life. Having experienced the joy and happiness that animals can bring, she joined Paws for Hope to give back to the community and help provide support to pets and their families.

  • Kim Hawkins


    [email protected]

    Kim Hawkins is the Executive Director of Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a community legal clinic providing free legal services to women in BC. Kim came to Rise via Whitehorse, Yukon Territory where she worked for many years as a full time staff lawyer at a busy legal aid clinic, practising mainly in the areas of family and criminal law. While in Whitehorse she also spent two years as judicial clerk and served for four years as President of the Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society. From 2007 to 2008, Kim worked on strategic constitutional litigation at the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown, South Africa. She holds a J.D. in Law from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. When she isn’t in the office Kim enjoys baking bread, yoga, and obsessively monitoring the tomato plants in her community garden plot. Kim was born and raised in Victoria BC, in the territory of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), and Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation and is grateful to live on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) nations.

  • Ann-Marie Fleming


    [email protected]

    Ann-Marie Fleming is the Founder and CEO of Dog Quality. Founded in 2011, Dog Quality is focused on creating assistive products that improve the quality of life for senior dogs and the families that care for them. Using an understanding of the changes that dogs go through as they age, Dog Quality is solving some of the most challenging problems dogs and their families face, resulting in effective, innovative and high-quality products that help make this stage of life happier and healthier. Prior to Dog Quality Ann-Marie spent more than 25 years in technology related roles in both a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer capacity with a specific focus on product management and marketing. An active supporter of the animal rescue community, Ann-Marie has joined Paws for Hope to help address a larger problem which includes improving access to veterinary care and helping families and their pets stay together.

  • Jessica Vaianisi


    [email protected]

    Jessica Vaianisi is Senior Legal Counsel at the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. She has extensive experience in both public and private sectors advising on a wide range of commercial, corporate and technology matters. Jessica is originally from Toronto, Ontario and as a new resident of British Columbia, she is excited to contribute to the community by bridging her legal knowledge and skills with her love of animals to help support and advance the important work of Paws for Hope.

  • Karen Sloat


    [email protected]

    Karen has worked in corrections for approximately 25 years. She has a diverse background in corrections having worked in community corrections, mental health services, regional interventions management and in penitentiary. Karen has always remained focused on service delivery, and working to promote safe and successful communities. She has joined Paws of Hope in order to continue to contribute to communities in another way that matters to her, the quality care and support to pets and their families.

  • Mark Sippola


    [email protected]

    Mark has over 30 years experience in building, running, and scaling a business. From 1991 through 2019 he was the CEO of a large West Coast service-based business with dozens of employees and hundreds of customers. At the end of 2019 he sold that company to a strategic acquirer and now spends his time coaching other business owners on how to scale their own businesses. As a lifelong animal lover and supporter of animal focused causes, the goals of Paws For Hope resonated with Mark. The human/animal bond is deep and should be supported. With his newly found spare time Mark is excited to join the Board of Paws For Hope to assist with increasing the growth and reach of its important initiatives. When not working with entrepreneurs, learning a new skill, or tending to his acreage, Mark can be found out hiking with his two rescue dogs, volunteering, or on the local tennis court trying to perfect his backhand.

Our Staff Team

  • Kathy Powelson

    Executive Director


    Kathy is the founder and Executive Director of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation. Prior to working in animal welfare, Kathy spent 20 years working in social services. Through her experience in the social services, Kathy recognized many parallels between animal welfare and social service work and is a strong advocate for linking the two sectors together to support healthy and vibrant communities. Kathy has a Master’s Degree in Criminology from Simon Fraser University and is a published author. She lives in Maple Ridge, BC with her husband, daughter, and cats, Nala and Cinnibar, and dogs, Henry and Barkely.

  • Cassie Preston

    No Pet Left Behind Program Manager


    Cassie has been an animal lover her entire life. Her love for animals but weak stomach kept her away from veterinary work, but her drive for social justice led her to help animals in other ways. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Psychology, Cassie moved to Vancouver to complete a Juris Doctor degree at Allard Law. She later volunteered with the BC SPCA briefing Canadian cruelty cases to contribute to the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty. Cassie continues this work today as a contributing member of Nationwide and Provincial groups working on the Violence Link. Cassie worked for a local cat rescue organization for four year. In that time, she developed a passion for helping the most challenging cats with behavioural and health issues. She also began fostering and has been hooked ever since. Cassie has fostered hundreds of animals and finds extreme joy in giving them a home while they recover from illness, acclimatise, await their furever home or return back home with their family after a crisis. Cassie lives in Langley with her partner and her two dogs and occasional fosters.

  • Lilliana Olmedo

    Better Together Program Coordinator


  • Marshall Watson

    Communications Coordinator

    Marshall manages the Paws for Hope website and makes sure that our organization’s documents and reports are clear and effective and look professional. In addition to his role at Paws for Hope, he is also a Communications Officer at The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. He grew up in Edmonton where he played in queer rock and roll bands, helped run a leadership camp for queer youth, and was a professional wedding photographer. He also volunteered his time to take professional photos of the animals at the Edmonton Humane Society to help them get adopted as quickly as possible. It was dope. He lives in Vancouver with his partner and their terrible cat-child, Record. He thinks that everyone should play Dungeons & Dragons.

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