KITV4: Animal shelters across Hawaii plea for help due to overcrowding

HONOLULU (KITV4) — Shelters across the state and the nation are urgently looking for foster homes to help with overcrowding in their facilities.

Punahou resident Hoku Yuen has been fostering cats and kittens since July 2022.

“I enjoy doing it. I enjoy spending time, training them, getting them ready for their forever home,” Yuen said.

Over 120 people are fostering animals for Kaua’i Humane Society because it says it’s 252% over capacity. 

“We are seeing a bit of increase in the animals we’re taking in. We’ve already taken in over 400 neo-natal kittens alone. But we’re also seeing a decrease in our outcomes,” Executive Director Nicole Crane said.

That means fewer people are adopting, and they can’t transfer out animals to no-kill shelters on the mainland because those are full, too.

“Shelters across the nation and Hawaii are at and beyond capacity. They don’t have space to take animals from us,” Crane said.

The shelter is asking people to help. It advises if you find a stray, try to find its owner on your own, and keep it a little while till that happens. Animals don’t tend to roam that far from home so people who live in the area might know who owns the animal.

Foster or adopt animals if you can.

“It’s a good thing. It’s very fulfilling,” Yuen said.

Spay, neuter, and microchip your pets. (Through February 2024, all cat and dog spay and neuters are $35 at KHS and include a microchip, per county and state laws.) And it asks you consider donating money, because it’s $10,000 a day to run the shelter.

Crane is dismayed to say the shelter may have to reverse its no-kill policy soon. The policy is “in jeopardy because we’re taking in a lot more injured animals as well.” It’s a quality-of-life issue, she explained.

“We’re facing the heartbreaking reality of having to euthanize animals who are medically and mentally treatable, who have the potential to be adopted, and who simply need the time, space and care to heal,” said Nikki Russell, the interim Director of Operations at Maui Humane Society. “It is a devastating decision that weighs heavily on all our hearts.”

Maui Humane Society says it is also in a similar crisis, with over 130 dogs in care and only 40 kennels. For the first time in years, it too may have to euthanize animals due to extreme overcrowding.

Every day, Maui Humane Society receives an average of four to five stray animals.

Hawaiian Humane Society is also in the same boat. It currently has 226 dogs  at both its Mo’ili’ili Campus and new Kosasa Family Campus at Ho’opili, and 526 cats; 97 cats are waiting for a foster home.

“Hawaiian Humane has been consistently overcapacity with our shelter dog population since October, which is unprecedented. And with kitten season in full swing, we are now overcapacity with our cat population,” said HHS Communications Manager Brandy Shimabukuro.

And why is this happening?

“We are seeing surrenders primarily due to housing crisis and financial crisis. The housing issue is serious. We’re seeing people that have their leases changed that can no longer have pets,” Crane said.

Maui Humane Society agrees and adds there are more restrictions on flights for animals to mainland shelters.

Kauai and Maui shelters are not taking healthy animals at this time. HHS is not accepting healthy adult dogs. Staff are frantically working to take care of the animals they already have.

Read the article and watch the video at KITV4