A substantial surrender increase in the number of guinea pigs and rabbits has been received over the past four weeks by the Maui Humane Society. The nonprofit organization reports it’s “unlike anything they have seen before.”
The shelter has surpassed capacity and temporary habitats have been built to accommodate the unforeseen increase, according to an organization news release.
“Owners are emailing, calling, and arriving at the shelter with a large number of animals wanting to surrender, sometimes due to no fault of their own,” the organization reports.
On June 16, a total of 14 guinea pigs were surrendered to Maui Humane Society from a family who tragically lost everything in their home due to a fire.
“The family were responsible pet owners, having the guinea pigs separated by sex and had no intention of surrendering them, until they lost everything,” according to the Maui Humane Society, which reports the animals were given special medical attention due to smoke inhalation.
An on-island transfer partner, Leilani Farm Sanctuary, took some to help with overcapacity, while others became available for adoption.
Additionally, Maui Humane Society has received multiple rabbit surrenders, up to 30 from a single household.
“To make matters more complicated, Hawai’i’s first case of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, type 2 (RHDV2) was confirmed on a Maui farm on June 17,” according to the MHS.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture confirmed RHDV2 in a 4- to 5-year-old neutered male rabbit on a farm in Kula. “Maui Humane Society immediately put in measures to ensure the in-shelter rabbit population is safe. As of July 1, all eligible rabbits have received their first dose of the vaccine,” the organization reports.
Maui Humane Society is offering a free vaccination clinic to the public for rabbits on July 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Maui Humane Society. Maui Humane Society highly advises all rabbit owners to take advantage of the free clinic by booking an appointment on its website to ensure their rabbit(s) are vaccinated and safe.
“The vaccination could save your rabbit’s life,” said Medical Director, Dr. Laurie Gaines. “This highly contagious and fatal disease could be catastrophic to the rabbit population on Maui. Please protect your rabbits.”
The vaccination series for RHDV2 comes in two parts (21 days apart). The second dose of the vaccine will be distributed in similar fashion on August 13. Knowing that rabbits are often confined to their homes, those needing a carrier for their rabbit can reserve a free transfer carrier to be picked up on July 15 or 16 at Maui Humane Society. For more information on RHDV2 and the Vaccination Clinic, visit https://www.mauihumanesociety.org/somebunnytolove.
With the increased guinea pig and rabbit intake, Maui Humane Society is seeking adopters in the community.
“Guinea Pigs and rabbits are great pets for apartments or smaller homes as they require less space,” according to the organization. “Additionally, they are great for first-time pet owners or families with kids.”
All rabbits and guinea pigs have $0 adoption fees. Visit mauihumanesociety.org to see all the animals available for adoption.
If you’re looking to surrender your pet, Maui Humane Society has resources as well. For individuals or families struggling with financial hardship or relocation, but want to keep their pet(s), 4EverPets is available to help owners and animals stay together. All animal surrenders (stray or owner-surrendered) are by appointment only.
Please call 808-877-3680 ext. 3 during operating hours to schedule.