(Honolulu Star Advertiser): The Maui Humane Society today issued a plea for help due to extreme overcrowding at its shelter, saying that it has had to consider euthanasia for the first time in years.
Even after a recent “Empty the Shelters” event in early May offering waived or reduced adoption fees, the Society says as the sole open-admission animal shelter in Maui County, it is still at overcapacity.
The Society has more than 130 dogs in its care, but only 40 kennels, and every day, another four to five stray animals is admitted to the shelter.
Although staff are working tirelessly to find them homes, the Society said the reality is that the rate of dog adoptions is unable to keep pace with the growing number admitted.
So for the first time in years, it has drawn up a list of at-risk animals for euthanasia.
“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, MHS interim director of operations, in a news release. “It is a devastating decision that weighs heavily on all our hearts.”
This crisis of overcrowded animal shelters is widespread across the U.S., the Society acknowledged, but on Maui is compounded by the lack of pet-friendly housing.
Maui Humane Society estimates about 40% of those on its waitlist to surrender their pets are doing so due to lack of pet-friendly housing.
Additionally, increased restrictions on flights means fewer animals can be flown to partner shelters on the U.S> mainland via its “Wings of Aloha” program.
The Society said when animals are confined, they experience increased stress levels, anxiety, and frustration, which can lead to behavioral issues such as excessive barking, aggression, and repetitive pacing or chewing — all signs that the animal is suffering.
Animals with behavioral issues, mental suffering or extensive, chronic medical conditions that affect quality of life are classified as at-risk for euthanasia. Those that are at-risk will be posted with a red banner across their photos.
The Maui Humane Society is pleading with the community to adopt or foster a pet, even on a temporary basis as an “SOS foster,” or to donate time or money to the shelter and try to rehome an animal before surrendering it.
The Society is also pleading with landlords to reconsider rules, and to allow pets on their properties.