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Humane society needs community to be able to accept animals

KIPU — The Kaua‘i Humane Society contracts with the County of Kaua‘i to perform numerous services for the community that includes, but are not limited to, caring for homeless, sick or injured animals.

However, the same contract forbids the society to intake feral cats. This means the society does not turn away stray animals except for feral cats.

The society takes in thousands of animals each year, many of those animals needing specialty care.

In a press release, the society said challenges have been plentiful the past several years, with the pandemic, increased numbers of stray animals, decreased numbers of adoptions, staffing shortages, and the break-in that happened in fall of 2022.

“Throughout these hardships, the Kaua‘i community has stepped up to help when they can, and has gracefully accepted changes in operations, including the appointment system, and the closure of the facility on Thursdays,” the society said.

“This has allowed KHS to accept any animal needing care, no matter the age, the extensiveness of the care needed or the breed. The Kaua‘i Humane Society has never had to turn away an animal, and, in fact, has managed a positive release rate above 94 percent since 2019, effectively maintaining a no-kill status.”

The shelter will often ask people looking to surrender pets or strays to hold onto the animals temporarily until space can be made at the shelter because there is a finite amount of space for animals and an ever-increasing population of stray pets.

If the individual surrendering a pet or dropping off a stray is unable to hold onto the animal, the society will accept the pet. It has never turned away an animal needing care. The society is an open-admission animal shelter, which means it accepts intakes without discrimination of age, breed or behavior.

The society relies heavily on its foster volunteers and transfer partners, as well as available adopters on- and off-island, to ensure there is space and efficient resources for the thousands of animals coming into the shelter every year. Without this support system, the intake of thousands of animals every year, and finding positive outcomes, would not be possible.

During 2022, the society took in 2,407 animals. During 2021, the society took in 2,823 animals.

Currently, there are 49 dog kennels, and the society is caring for 90 dogs. Currently, there are approximately 40 active foster volunteers who have shelter cats and dogs in their respective homes.

The society said animals often stay at the shelter for more than 100 days because there are a limited number of adopters on-island, and getting the animal off-island can be costly without donations to help subsidize that cost.

Even when there are funds to get animals off-island, flights can be challenging to book because of airline restrictions, and other open-admission animal shelters across the country are facing similar over-capacity issues and don’t always have the space to accept the KHS animals.

Kaua‘i Humane Society practices the animal welfare standard of care guideline, managed admissions. If the facility were to take in every single animal brought in on a day, there would be even more capacity issues.

Through the use of the appointment system to create appointments for people looking to surrender pets, KHS is able to offer counseling and resources to help people keep their pets and make space for the incoming animals.

For these reasons, KHS asks the community to help with reuniting lost pets in their neighborhood, or take home a stray animal overnight. This does not mean the shelter refuses to take the animals. It means as the only open admission shelter on Kaua‘i the shelter needs the support of the community to successfully care for the animals.

Donations are always appreciated to help the society with this mission. Spaying and neutering is another vital step the community can take to support the society. For the next year, all spay and neuters will only cost $35.

For information, or to donate and help, visit kauaihumane.org.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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