Animal Rescues Continue in Kīlauea Danger Zone

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At the request of the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society (HIHS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) deployed its disaster response team to conduct assessments of areas impacted by the Kīlauea volcano eruptions, assist in managing the Disaster Pet Hotline for residents requesting assistance for their pets, and provide lifesaving field rescue for displaced animals. On Thursday, June 14, an animal search-and-rescue team led by HIHS and the ASPCA, removed more than a dozen animals, including birds, sheep, cats and a dog, out of the Kapoho Beach Lots Subdivision in lower Puna. The animals, some airlifted by helicopter, were transported to the HIHS Kea‘au Shelter where they will receive care until they can be reunited with their families. Search-and-rescue efforts will continue through the weekend.

Animal search and rescue teams rescue animals in Kapoho. Courtesy photo.

“These search-and-rescue efforts are absolutely critical to safely remove animals trapped in areas completely cut off by active lava fields and steep banks,” said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. “The ongoing and relentless destruction caused by the Kīlauea volcano eruptions has put hundreds of animal lives at risk, and the ASPCA is pleased to be in a position where we can partner and assist the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society to save as many displaced animals as possible.”

Animal search and rescue teams rescues animal in Kapoho. Courtesy photo.

“Hawai‘i Island Humane Society has deployed up to eight animal control officers each day when allowed access to search for animals and pet,” said HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker. “We’ve gone door-to-door in the subdivisions in our search for animals at risk and continue to leave food and water for those animals not yet found and rescued. To date, Hawai‘i Island Humane Society rescued approximately 165+ animals with nearly all returned to owners and the remainder in foster homes. We’re grateful for the help that ASPCA is providing in these efforts.”

Animal search and rescue teams rescue animals in Kapoho. Courtesy photo.

To submit a rescue request for an animal or pet, residents should call HIHS at (808) 498-9475. The animal and pet rescue hotline is able to receive calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Animal search and rescue teams rescue animals in Kapoho. Courtesy photo.


The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes and floods. In addition, they work closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal response capabilities through grants and training opportunities. In 2017, the ASPCA assisted more than 37,000 animals displaced by disaster situations including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the wildfires in Northern California. More information on the ASPCA’s disaster response efforts can be found at


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