Maureen Cattieu, Williamsville EAST High School,Class of 2002

Maureen Cattieu is founder and director of Cartagena Paws, a non-profit animal rescue organization in Cartagena, Colombia. 

Maureen was born and raised in Williamsville, attendingMaple East Elementary, Transit Middle, and Williamsville East High School where she was a cheerleader, softball player, and Homecoming Queen her senior year. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Science Interdisciplinary, with minors in Spanish and education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Following graduation, she travelled and volunteered internationally in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, immersing herself in the Latin American culture. She returned to UB on scholarship and completed a master’s degree in bilingual education in 2010. Upon graduation, Maureen signed a teaching contract with the international George Washington School in Cartagena. 

Maureen worked as a first grade teacher and loved the exciting city of Cartagena but couldn't bear to watch innocent animals suffering in the streets. She began advocating for animal rights and rescuing dogs and cats from the streets. In 2015, she established a non-profit animal rescue center that she named Cartagena Paws. The rescue and adoption organization works diligently to save abandoned and abused animals, rehabilitate them, and find them safe, loving homes. In the past four years, more than 150 rescued animals have been adopted internationally. She recently implemented an educational-based animal rights and awareness program in some of the most impoverished areas of Cartagena where animal abuse and neglect are prevalent. 

After teaching eight years at the international school, Maureen now lives in Key West, FL with her husband, Luis Carlos. She is an English Language Teacher for the Monroe County School District and continues to lead Cartagena Paws, visiting Columbia regularly to work with her team members on new ways to create positive change in the community and fight for animal rights.