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Editorial | Island Voices

Help animal shelters care for the most vulnerable among us

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This is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, where communities nationwide celebrate the work performed by animal welfare organizations. This week, I encourage everyone in our community to participate in making a difference in an animal’s life.

Whether you decide to participate with a monetary donation or to volunteer at a limited admissions shelter, open admissions shelter such as the Hawaiian Humane Society or with a community rescue group, all of these organizations share the same passion for animal welfare and all are striving to make a positive impact in our communities by finding new families for all the animals in their care.

Since our beginning in 1883, more than 100 years ago, the Hawaiian Humane Society has always refused to turn any animal away that shows up at our door and we continue to save lives every day. Currently, 120 animals are in foster care. More than 100 animals await adoption. At least 7,000 spay and neuter surgeries were performed this year to curb overpopulation. In the last three months, we found families for nearly 2,000 animals. By expanding our foster caregivers program, doubling the number of volunteers and expanding special adoptions promotions, we’ve reduced euthanasia by nearly 11 percent.

Our continued success depends completely on the donors and volunteers who support us and the many rescue and advocacy groups throughout the state of Hawaii who have found their own role and voice in helping animals. At all of these organizations, there are always wonderful animals awaiting adoption into loving homes.

Once animals become available for adoption at the Humane Society, they wait as long as it takes to find a family.

Businesses such as PETCO have also joined our cause by promising not to sell for-profit puppies and to only offer rescued dogs and cats for adoption. Make it your pledge this week to always choose adoption instead of buying. Pets sold for profit from pet stores, puppy swap meets and Internet sales often come from animals who are kept only to breed because their owners consider making a profit more important than their pets’ quality of life. That’s why we need your help to encourage everyone in your community to choose adoption, participate in spay and neuter, care for homeless cats in your neighborhood, to report potential cruelty, to report lost and found animals and to strive to become more compassionate caregivers to their own pets and all animals.

We urge you to find your community activism in animal welfare, get educated about the issues and pick your favorite shelter or organization where you think you can make a difference. However, it takes more than just a community volunteer group or shelter operation to be a final solution to the many varied and complicated issues animals face. It also takes every animal lover in every neighborhood continuing to seek and find opportunities to make a difference.

This week we proudly salute our humane societies on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, advocacy groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, the many hundreds of rescue groups from Joey’s Feline Friends to Bird Rescue of Hawaii to Hawaii Dog Foundation, and so many more who are making a difference. None of these groups are affiliated and we share no funding. Yet we are all working toward the same goal of ending pet overpopulation and building a better community for animals and people. Each of us are independent, nonprofit organizations in need of your support. Please join our cause.

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