FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nancy Willis, (808) 877-3680, email@example.com
Maui Humane Society Asking for Public’s Help During COVID-19 Crisis
Puunene, HI (3/16/20): Maui Humane Society (MHS) is asking for the community’s assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, there will be several adjustments/postponements happening at MHS. Many are going into effect beginning Monday, March 23 however, for a complete list of all programs and services affected, please visit the Maui Humane society website at www.mauihumanesociety.org. Effective Monday, March 23, Maui Humane Society will be shortening public hours to 11-5pm and will be offering limited services to the public. These services include: pre-scheduled animal surrenders and scheduled adoptions, as well as lost/found services. In an effort to minimize the number of people coming into the facility, we are asking the public to suspend low priority activities for now such as dog license renewals, community cat trapping, etc.
Please be advised that MHS is following the guidelines provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) regarding Animal Control and Sheltering Services during the COVID-19 crisis. NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intakes to mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19. “This change will mostly impact the owner surrendered animals,” Steve MacKinnon, MHS CEO said. “About 25% of the pets who enter MHS are given up by their owners. We are asking owners who are not facing an immediate crisis to hold their pets for up to four weeks, and to surrender at a later date. For any pet owners who need to surrender immediately, we will still take their pets at a pre-scheduled time.” He noted that appointments can be made by calling (808) 877-3680 ext. 3.
MHS is also advising that potential adopters are being asked to call in advance of coming to the shelter. For people who would like to adopt a pet, MHS is also running an adoption special with all adult dogs available for a $20 adoption fee starting March 23 and running through the end of the month.
Maui Humane Society Enforcement officers will continue to provide 24 hour service to answer high priority and emergency calls. Those calls include injured or sick and stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, dangerous and aggressive dog complaints, and more. MHS is asking that the public please suspend calling MHS to report low priority/non-emergency activity including non-aggressive stray animal pick-up, leash law and licensing complaints, barking and nuisance complaints, trapping and transport of community cats, etc.
Found a stray animal? MHS is also asking people who find friendly stray pets to consider fostering them until the shelter can resume normal operations. Pets typically stay pretty close to home when they go missing, so this helps get pets home much more quickly, without having to endure the stress of the shelter. Stray finders can take the pet to a vet clinic or to MHS to check for a microchip, file a found report at the MHS website, and hold the pet to give the owner time to locate it.
Fosters needed: MHS is also looking for “on call” emergency fosters who can take home a pet if MHS reaches critical capacity. MHS will need fosters for all types of animals but housing for medium and large dogs, “bottle baby” kittens, and pets with medical issue will be most needed. MHS provides vet care, crates, supplies & food. Sign up to be an on-call foster by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our main focus at this point is on reducing the overall number of animals housed at the shelter,” MacKinnon said. “It’s a predictable pattern that when people feel uncertain or worried, we tend to see an uptick in animal surrenders. Reducing intakes and maintaining outcomes is essential to avoid overcrowding in the shelter especially as we are uncertain how long this crisis will continue.”
Effective Monday, March 23, MHS will also be temporarily suspending all spay/neuter services for owned animals. If a customer has a previously scheduled appointment for their pet between March 23 and mid-April, that appointment will be cancelled and they will be waitlisted for future appointments. Owners will be notified and given priority when the spay/neuter clinic is open again for business. Please note all spay/neuter surgeries scheduled now through Friday, March 20 are still happening. Additionally, all TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) surgeries for community (feral) cats will not be affected and all previously scheduled appointments will be honored.
Other Programs/Services/Events being postponed/cancelled effective March 23: Beach Buddies, All pet training including Agility, Rally Obedience and CGC classes, Freddie’s Birthday Party/Easter Egg Hunt on April 11, All New Volunteer Orientations including upcoming class scheduled for Saturday, March 21. Additionally, the acceptance of gently used items such as towels, sheets, bedding, newspaper, etc. are being temporarily suspended effective immediately.
Plan ahead: Pet owners are encouraged to make plans for their pets in case someone in the home falls ill. People should stock up on two extra weeks of pet supplies and identify a pet sitter who can help out if the pet owner is unable to care for their pet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement saying there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
To donate or for more information about Maui Humane Society, please visit the Maui Humane Society website at: www.mauihumanesociety.org or call (808) 877-3680. Please note that the changes listed above are as of Tuesday, March 17 however based on the uncertainty surrounding this issue, circumstances may change and other services/programs may change without notice. Please check the MHS website for the most updated information.
About Maui Humane Society
Maui Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, serving the community for over 60 years and is Maui’s only open admission shelter. Our mission is to protect and save the lives of Maui’s animals, accepting all in need, educating the community and inspiring respect and compassion toward all animals. The Maui Humane Society takes in more than 5,600 animals annually, and serves many times that number through community outreach programs. Equally important, through the many programs and services offers, MHS provides support for Maui’s approximately 90,000 pet owners as well as Animal Management Services for the County of Maui.