New Hawaiʻi County animal control agency takes over July 1 from police department
On July 1, Hawai‘i County Animal Control Services no longer will be under the control of the police department.
The responsibilities are transitioning to the new Animal Control and Protection Agency, which was created in March by the County Council and will be under the direction of the Office of Management — the Mayor’s Office.
The police department has operated the animal control services for the past two years under a pilot project that was implemented when the short-lived contract with Hawai‘i Rainbow Rangers ended.
But after public outcry about the way animal control was being handled by the police — with reports on social media about stray, neglected and vicious animals — the County Council approved the new agency, with 45 full-time positions.
The county is in the process of hiring a new administrator and an administrative services assistant, and anticipates at least one of the positions will be filled by the end of June.
The Hawai‘i Police Department said in a press release that animal control services will continue in much the same way while it transitions to a new agency.
The phone numbers for animal control services will remain the same. For lost pets and non-emergencies, call 808-327-3558.
Calls regarding animal control services are categorized as priority one, two or three, and will remain this way for the time being.
Priority one: It is 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 animal. For animal emergencies, people can continue to call the Police Dispatch number at 808-935-3311.
Priority three: It pertains to deceased animals on the roadway. If people come across a deceased animal on a county road, call the county Department of Public Works Highways Division at 808-961-8349. If the deceased animal is on a state highway or road, call the state Department of Transportation Highways Division at 808-933-8866.
Priority two: It pertains to lost or found pets. Here are several steps you can take if you find a stray animal or lose a pet:
- People who find healthy stray animals are encouraged to have the animal scanned for a microchip by a County of Hawai‘i Animal Control Officer, at a veterinarian’s office or by a local rescue group. If a found animal is microchipped, veterinarians can try to find its owner by searching for the microchip on my24pet.com.
- People who find a healthy stray animal or who lose a pet are encouraged to post it as lost and 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. 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.
- There are a handful of organizations across the island using this technology, including Hawai‘i County Animal Control and Protection Agency, Hawai‘i Animal Kuleana Alliance and Hawai‘i Island Humane Society.
- Individuals who have questions regarding a lost or found pet can also contact the Hawai‘i County Animal Control and Protection Agency at 808-327-3558.
- As Animal Control transitions to a new agency, people who find an injured stray animal are encouraged to call the police department’s non-emergency line 808-935-3311.
The Hawai‘i County Animal Control and Protection Agency will continue to manage the shelter facilities in east and west Hawai‘i with kennel staff caring and feeding the animals.