PUHI — The Kaua‘i Humane Society is facing an unprecedented number of challenges, and taking steps to meet them.
The KHS shelter outside Puhi will be closed on Thursdays starting June 16 due to staffing shortages, COVID-19 and a high population of animals.
Last week, the shelter hit “critical capacity.”
“In recent months, there has been a significant increase in animals being surrendered to the shelter, and this is largely due to the lack of viable housing/pet-friendly housing on island,” a Friday press release said.
Already this year, KHS has taken in 245 animals surrendered by their owners.
“The fact that half of all owner-surrendered animals are coming from community members facing financial and housing issues is a huge problem,” the release said.
Reasons for the surrenders were:
• Housing/landlord issue: 33 (13.5%);
• Housing/change in lifestyle: 32 (13%);
• Housing/moving: 32 (13%)
• Financial: 15 (6%);
“KHS, like many organizations and businesses across Kaua‘i, is struggling to operate as usual,” Executive Director Nicole Crane said.
“With multiple open staffing positions, working around the increase in COVID-19 cases and an animal population that is over capacity, KHS was forced to evaluate its operational hours. In the best interest of the staff and the animals in our care, we decided to close one day a week to catch up on tasks, deep clean and ensure our animals are getting the one-on-one attention they deserve without feeling rushed.”
While the public has been asking whether KHS will begin euthanizing animals due to lack of space, Crane said that is not an option.
“KHS has not changed its euthanasia policies,” Crane said. “KHS was, is, and will always be working to find positive outcomes for the animals in our care.”
She said KHS is doing its best to find homes for its animals.
The nonprofit is the only open-intake animal shelter on the island. It has had a no-kill status since 2019. In 2021, KHS’s positive release outcome rate averaged 96% for all animals.
Surrenders related to financial and housing issues make up 46% of all surrenders. Other reasons for surrendering a pet may include owner health issues, protective custody, animals born in care, behavioral issues, too many pets or an owner-requested euthanasia, according to the press release.
For owner-requested euthanasia, KHS takes the animal and then determines the best course of treatment, or whether a euthanasia is necessary.
Regular hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will resume Fridays to Wednesdays.
The shelter’s thrift shop, BloomingTails, will have new hours starting this week. BloomingTails will be closed on Thursdays and Fridays and will be open regular hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday to Wednesday.
These closures are intended to be a temporary solution until more staff is hired, the release said.
A reevaluation will occur at the end of July.
KHS is hiring for several positions, including adoption and intake specialist, animal-programs coordinator and dog and cat specialists.
KHS is working to find partner rescues and adopters to take animals. KHS is offering a two-for-one feline special on-island and an all-inclusive adoption and transport credit of $150 for any shelter pet to select West Coast airports.
“KHS will continue to take in sick and injured animals, but it is vital at this time that the community comes together to help find the owners of stray animals first before bringing them into the shelter,” the release said.
For anyone willing to foster a stray animal they find, KHS will offer assistance, supplies and resources.
Source: The Garden Island