City boosts pact with Humane Society
The Hawaiian Humane Society is once again taking on a larger share of the city’s animal care and control services on Oahu thanks to an $800,000 boost by the City Council and a newagreement between the nonprofit and the Caldwell administration.
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The Hawaiian Humane Society is once again taking on a larger share of the city’s animal care and control services on Oahu thanks to an $800,000 boost by the City Council and a new agreement between the nonprofit and the Caldwell administration.
Humane Society officials and city Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara were expected to announce details of the revamped animal services contract today when the upgraded contract is to take effect.
The group is receiving $3,158,425 this year, up $800,000 from the $2,358,425 it has received the past six years, with built-in 5 percent increases — if city finances allow — in each of the next two years.
The added funding will allow the Humane Society’s team of investigators to rise to 12 — up from an existing three to four, Humane Society spokeswoman Jacque Vaughn said. “This will mean we can have four or five on duty islandwide at any given time. That’s better, but it’s still a lot of ground to cover … but we think we can make it work.”
From the city’s perspective, the upgraded animal services contracts will free up police to deal with other priorities and give the public a one-stop source for animal care and control issues.
Specifically, the restored field services are:
>> Investigation and follow-through of complaints of dangerous dogs, dog bites and barking dogs.
>> Investigation and follow-through of cat identification and sterilization violations. (Outdoor cats must have IDs and, if 6 months or older, be sterilized.)
>> Return to 24-hour dispatch, rescue and response for all animals in distress, or those subjected to cruelty, neglect or abandonment; and pickup of stray dogs.
Other existing Humane Society functions will continue, including 24/7 animal admissions, pet adoptions seven days a week, daily lost and found, animal sheltering and the sterilization of stray animals, Vaughn said.
The Humane Society has received as many as 17,500 calls for service in a given year, she said.
“We’ve always wanted to provide these services to the public, but it’s always been a matter of funding,” Kajiwara said. “The public has told the Council and the administration that this is important to them, so we’re happy to be able to provide this to them.”
Pamela Burns, Humane Society president, said her organization is pleased to be able to offer the additional services and hopes it will decrease any confusion over whether people should contact the Humane Society or the police about animal care issues.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with the city and the Police Department on this,” she said.
Services were reduced in 2013 after the Humane Society asked for $900,000-plus more annually, arguing that rising costs prevented them from providing the same amount of services without any increase in funds. But citing lack of available funding, the administration instead worked out an arrangement for the organization to reduce the
services it offered.
The Council Budget Committee inserted language in this year’s budget requiring the additional funding for the services. Council members said they wanted animal services to be more readily available and allow police officers to focus on their other duties.
The Humane Society has been the only bidder for the city’s animal services contract for a number of years. Experts say no other organization on Oahu is in a position to take on the city’s animal services contract.