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Shelter pets being airlifted to Oregon from Maui

LIHU‘E — When a Southwest Airlines aircraft touches down at Maui’s Kahului Airport on Thursday, the plane will be carrying hundreds of Good Packs filled with survival and comfort supplies that include T-shirts, blankets, flashlights, socks and hygiene kits.

That same aircraft is also scheduled to leave on Friday with more than 100 shelter pets from the Maui Humane Society (MHS) that will be flown to Portland, Oregon, and received by Oregon Humane Society to prepare the pets for new homes.

In the wake of the Maui wildfires, Greater Good Charities, in partnership with Southwest Airlines and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will be delivering the humanitarian supplies to Maui and utilize the donated Southwest Airlines aircraft to operate an emergency airlift of at least 30 or more dogs, and 70 or more cats from Maui to Portland, Oregon.

Greater Good Charities is the same organization that offered free spay and neuter programs on Kaua‘i before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I could not sit by and watch Maui residents lose their pets, and everything else in their lives,” said Mirah Horowitz, the founder and CEO of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and a former executive director of the Kaua‘i Humane Society.

“As a longtime resident of Kaua‘i, I am proud to be part of this effort to bring much-needed relief to our Maui ‘ohana. This partnership between Greater Good Charities, Southwest Airlines and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will make it possible for the Maui Humane Society to care for even more pets displaced by the wildfires, and ensure they have care until they can be reunited with their families.”

The emergency airlift will make room for the anticipated influx of injured and displaced pets that will arrive at Maui Humane Society because of the wildfires. Maui Humane Society, even before the fires, was struggling with capacity problems, and only shelter pets held at MHS prior to the wildfires will be transported to Portland.

“We are incredibly grateful for the extraordinary response and offers of support we have received from organizations ranging from this in our local community to national organizations during this devastating time,” said Lisa Labrecque, CEO of the Maui Humane Society.

“The efforts organized by Greater Good Charities will help Maui’s community by providing space in our shelter and in foster homes to allow for the ongoing medical care, sheltering and supplies that pets and their owners affected by the wildfires will need,” said Labrecque. “A new normal has developed here in Maui, and we will need help for months, and even years to come.”

Greater Good Charities is working with veterinarians on the ground in Maui to ensure the health and safety of the shelter pets boarding the flight. A licensed veterinarian will also accompany the flight to Portland, and all the cats and dogs will be evaluated and receive any follow-up medical care needed before being put up for adoption.

“Our hearts are with the people of Hawai‘i and the communities who are affected by the wildfires, and we have many efforts underway across the company to offer our assistance and support,” said Laura Nieto, managing director for corporate responsibility at Southwest Airlines.

“In addition to supporting local and national relief organizations to bring aid to Maui, Southwest and our employees have put their hearts into action to join this effort to transport shelter cats and dogs in-cabin to the mainland in hopes of finding forever homes.”


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

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