August 16, 2023
Thousands of pets in Maui are currently missing following last week’s deadly wildfires, and vets and animal rights groups say they are scrambling to not only rescue those dogs, cats and other animals but also treat them for serious injuries.
Katie Shannon, a representative with the Maui Humane Society, told ABC News that an estimated 3,000 pets are missing on the island, and her team and other animal groups are waiting to get to the most damaged areas to get a better assessment.
“It might take days or weeks to really understand the extent of the damage that is done, which is why we are making sure that all animals are treated here when necessary,” she said.
Shannon said as of Sunday morning, the group received 52 animals from Lahaina with a wide assortment of smoke and fire-related injuries.
Some of the animals have had their ears, legs and other body parts burnt and had to be wrapped in bandages, she said.
Shannon talked about a dog that the Humane Society named Katniss after the “Hunger Games” character who was found by a Lahaina firefighter. Katniss, who suffered burns to paws and bones, was given to a medical transporter who drove the dog to the Human Society offices.
“Our animal care staff humane enforcement and volunteers were actually able to transport her from the car into the veterinary clinic and we immediately attended to her pain and the medical needs that she needs but you know, you can tell that the animal was truly in shock,” Shannon said. “You know she is in a lot of pain that is being monitored and we are really hoping for a positive outcome.”
Shannon said Katniss is an owned animal and her team is working to reunite her with the owners.
She said the group is working to reunite other animals but warned the process is going to take a long time. The Humane Society has had 367 reports of lost pets and is urging pet owners to file a loss report to facilitate identifying and matching any found animal.
“That’s going to give us the best opportunity to reunite every animal with its owner, and unfortunately, it also is going to allow us to provide closure for those who have lost a pet,” Shannon said.
The Humane Society did have one happy ending for one of the pets it treated.
A dog named Roman was with a dog sitter who jumped into the waters to flee the fire, but the pet didn’t jump in, according to the Humane Society. Roman was found Thursday and treated at the Humane Society for burns to its paws, legs, back and body.
The dog had a microchip and its owners were notified and they were reunited, according to Shannon.
“That’s why we are here. We love animals,” she said.