Maui Humane Society Faces Heartbreaking Euthanasia Decisions Amongst Extreme Overcrowding
At-Risk Euthanasia List Created first time in years

(Maui, HI – May 23, 2023) – Maui Humane Society, the sole open-admission animal shelter in the county, is urgently pleading for action in addressing extreme overcrowding. This crisis is not unique to Maui and is widespread throughout the country, with animal welfare organizations struggling to cope with the consistent influx of animals. With over 130 dogs in care and only 40 kennels, for the first time in years, the shelter has a list of at-risk animals for euthanasia due to extreme overcrowding.

Every day, Maui Humane Society receives an average of 4-5 stray animals in need of care and shelter. While staff and advocates work tirelessly to find homes for these animals, they are faced with a disheartening reality – the rate of dog adoptions is insufficient to keep pace with the growing number of dogs in our care. There is a waitlist to surrender animals because 40% of all surrenders at Maui Humane Society are due to lack of pet-friendly housing. The lack of pet friendly housing, coupled with increased restrictions on flights for animals to already overpopulated shelters on the mainland, limits the plausible impact of the life-saving Wings of Aloha program. The shelter is forced to make euthanasia decisions for animals that could otherwise be saved.

“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,” stated Nikki Russell, the interim Director of Operations at Maui Humane Society. “It is a devastating decision that weighs heavily on all our hearts.”

This is a capacity of care problem. Capacity of care refers to the ability to provide care for the animals, which encompasses several critical components, including space, resources, staffing, financial assistance, population levels, and the condition of the animals. Animals confined to kennels experience increased stress levels, anxiety, and frustration which can lead to behavioral issues such as excessive barking, aggression, and self-destructive behaviors like repetitive pacing or chewing. These visible symptoms showcase the animal is suffering, which is when they are classified at-risk for euthanasia. At-risk animals may include behavioral issues, mental suffering and/or extensive and ongoing chronic medical issues that affect quality of life.

Even through these challenges, Maui Humane Society continues to have hope for the animals with the help of the community. Here are six ways that the community can help with this staggering overpopulation:

  1. Prevent animals from coming into the shelter – Make sure your animal wears identification and is microchipped. If you’ve lost or found an animal, visit our Lost/Found page to take the right steps. Before making an appointment to surrender, try to rehome the animal.
  2. Adopt a Pet: Will not only save a life but also provide space for another animal in need. 
  3. Foster a Pet: Temporary foster care provides a crucial lifeline for animals healing and/or awaiting adoption. By fostering, you offer a nurturing environment and help alleviate overcrowding.
  4. Volunteer: Dedicate your time and skills to assist in various aspects of animal care, socialization, and administrative tasks.
  5. Donate: Financial support plays a vital role in ensuring our ability to provide essential services, including veterinary care, food, shelter, and enrichment.
  6. Spread the Word: Help us raise awareness and the importance of responsible pet ownership. Share our message through Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor, community gatherings, and conversations with friends and family. For those on the mainland, visit your local shelter and see if they offer a transfer program so we can expand Wings of Aloha. Landlords – we ask you to STRONGLY reconsider allowing pets in your homes.

Maui Humane Society firmly believes that by uniting as a community, we can reduce the impact of this crisis, but it will take an island of support. All dogs on our website considered “At-Risk” have a red banner across the pet’s image. Maui Humane Society is located off Maui Veterans Highway and open from 11am-5pm. 

About Maui Humane Society: 

Maui Humane Society is the island’s only open admission shelter, accepting all animals in need. The  organization cares for over 4900 animals a year. The shelter has a robust foster and volunteer program,  transfers hundreds of animals through Wings of Aloha flights to adoption-guaranteed homes, practices  TNR as a humane method of reducing the community cat population and provides food and supplies at  no cost to disadvantaged pet owners through the 4EverPets community outreach program. Visit for more information.