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LETTER: Displeasure About the Hawai’i Island Humane Society

July 20, 2015, 3:33 PM HST
* Updated July 20, 3:37 PM
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I am a permanent resident of the Big Island of Hawaii and I am writing to let you know of my displeasure about the Hawaii Island Humane Society’s (HIHS) new open-ended moratorium on adopting animals to rescue organizations. Not only has the HIHS denied adoption privileges to the organizations themselves, but also to the individuals affiliated with those rescues who would like to adopt animals personally.

Thanks to the media I have read the letters that were sent to both KARES and Big Island Dog Rescue (BIDR) suspending their adoptions. Why was the letter sent to KARES on HIHS letterhead while the letter sent to BIDR sent by an attorney? The letter sent to BIDR also demanded that any communication with HIHS about the suspension be through the attorney. It was extremely adversarial and gives the appearance that HIHS has no intention of continuing the relationship with BIDR.

By HIHS’s own admittance, they euthanized 10,000 animals last year. That comes out to 23 animals per day. By working together with KARES, BIDR, Aloha Ilio, and other island rescue organizations that number can be slashed. The relationship between these rescue organization is symbiotic and should be nurtured. Donna Whitaker and the board have done nothing to foster the relationships between these groups. In fact, they appear to have tried to destroy the relationships of the groups that work the hardest to save and adopt the animals of this island.

Many people have requested the information regarding the amount of money that HIHS is paid per animal it destroys. They are reluctant to release that information. In fact, they have not released it to anyone that I can locate. The only information I can find is that they have a multi-million dollar contract with the county to euthanize animals and get paid a “disposal fee” per animal that is euthanized. In light of the fact that they have severed ties with the rescue organizations that adopt the dogs that are in most danger of being euthanized, this leads to the unpleasant conclusion that the HIHS is killing animals for profit.

“The mission of Hawaii Island Humane Society is to prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation, and enhance the bond between humans and animals.”

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If eliminating pet overpopulation is part of their mission statement, why did the HIHS slash their spay/neuter program budget in half for 2015?

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I understand that not all animals are adoptable. Some have to be eutahnized. The unfortunate reality is that the population of this island needs to be educated about spay/neuter, backyard breeding, and animal cruelty. I am aware that HIHS can not turn away any animal. That being said, they should NOT turn away the other rescue organizations. They are all on the same team. The HIHS director and board seem to have forgotten that they are working for the animals and need to re-establish their relationships with the other island rescue groups immediately.

Pamela Small, Kawaihae

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