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County Updates Public on Progress in New Role as Animal Control Officers

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After assuming responsibility of animal control services in July, the Hawai‘i Police Department wants to update the public on how its handling the new operation.

Hawaiʻi County took over the duty on July 1, at the beginning of the current fiscal year, after the contract with Hawai‘i Rainbow Rangers ended on June 30 due to insufficient production by the provider. After the change, the responsibilities of animal control services fell under the police department.

While the Hawai‘i County code allows contracting of animal control services, the county has undertaken an animal control services pilot project, expected to last for at least two years. During this time, the county will house and perform animal control services. Toward the conclusion of the pilot, the county will decide whether to contract any future animal control services.

Services Offered and Who to Call:

Calls received regarding animal control services continue to be categorized as priority one, two, or three. Animal control staff continue to respond to priority one calls 24 hours a day island-wide. Since July 1, staff have responded to 30-50 calls a day, of which, an average of 20 of those calls require an immediate response.

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Priority one calls include those for injured animals, any animal that is a public safety risk, animal cruelty, and situations in which an animal’s owner has been arrested or died with no family to pick up the pet. Police ask that the public call police dispatch at 808-935-3311 for priority one, or emergency requests for assistance.

For priority two calls, those pertaining to lost or found pets and non-emergency issues, the public should call animal control staff at 808-327-3558 or email at hpdanimal[email protected] When leaving a message, leave your name clearly, and repeat your contact information so that staff may contact you promptly. Staff answer the phones and return calls during normal business hours.

Lost & Found Healthy Pets:
People who find a healthy stray animal or who lose a pet are encouraged to post it as lost / found on https://lost.petcolove.org/.

Petco Love Lost is a searchable national database that uses patented facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier. This simple-to-use tool will be easily accessible to participating animal organizations nationwide, as well as any pet parent or person who finds a lost pet. Uploaded photos of a missing dog or cat are immediately scanned to determine whether the lost pet is at a participating shelter or with a neighbor in the community. The technology scans photos at the shelters every two hours to reunite lost pets and their owners as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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If someone finds a healthy stray animal, they can contact animal control services at 808-327-3558. Shelter capacity is still limited and averages 135 animals per day. However, animal control has, and continues to, admit healthy strays as their capacity for care allows.

Animal Control Facilities:
Animal control services currently lease a shelter facility in east Hawai‘i and maintains use of a county-owned facility in west Hawai‘i with kennel staff caring and feeding the animals. Plans are underway to make significant improvements to the Kona shelter, which is in need of repairs. Additionally, the county is exploring options to purchase a permanent shelter facility in east Hawai‘i in addition to the current leased facility.

Spay/Neuter Services:
Recognizing that pet overpopulation is a substantial issue on Hawai’i Island, County Animal Control Services ensures that those animals that are transferred to our partner agencies are spayed and neutered before they are available for foster or adoption.

Animal Control is Hiring:
Under the direction of HPD, animal control is currently seeking experienced kennel techs and animal control officers in both east and west Hawai‘i. Recruitments for these contract positions will be forthcoming via the county website under “Job Opportunities” for interested person(s) to apply. In the interim, those interested in applying for positions may submit a resume to [email protected]

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Animal Control Stats:
Overall Animal Control Stats:
Number of animals transferred to our partner agencies since August 2021:
(County was not transferring in July due to shared shelters with Hawai‘i Rainbow Rangers.) 318

Total number of animals returned to owners​ July – December 2021: 183
Total number of animals euthanized July – December 2021: 171

Average Monthly Animal Control Stats:
Animals transferred to our partner agencies: 58%
Pets returned to owners: 26%
Average length of stay in shelter per animal: 45 days
Euthanasia rate: 16%

Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to thank Hawai‘i Island residents for their patience during the recent months as the county assumed responsibility for animal control services. The department also thanks the animal welfare organizations around the island that have assisted with animal transfers and fostering during this time. Any non-profit animal organizations that may want to work with county Animal Control Services as partners are invited to inquire via email at [email protected]

Information on Animal Control Services can be found online here.

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