WAILUKU >> Animal rescue groups and volunteer pilots are finding new homes on Maui for dogs displaced by the Kilauea volcano eruption on the Big Island.
The Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation has taken in about 80 dogs from the Big Island, finding homes for almost all of the pets, The Maui News reported Sunday.
Most of the rescued dogs have been given up by people whose homes were destroyed by lava flows, said Dawn Hall, the organization’s executive director.
“For a lot of these folks, because the shelters for humans are full, they’re living in their cars with their kids and their pets,” Hall said. “It’s not like they’re going to be able to move back. A lot of them are relinquishing their pets so they can be safe and have a good life. It’s heartbreaking.”
The rescue foundation is working with the Hawaii Island Humane Society, KARES Hawaii and Aloha Ilio Rescue to take care of the animals. Many of the dogs were transported to Maui by volunteers flying small planes.
“When the volcano started to go off and the community became at risk, they called us saying we have a lot of issues that are beyond our normal issues and can you help,” Hall said.
The eruptions have affected the health of some of the Big Island rescue animals, causing upper respiratory infections, eye infections and burned feet, particularly in cats, said Debbie Cravatta, founder of Kohala-based KARES Hawaii.
The animals are checked by veterinarians, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered before they are put up for adoption.
“It’s not over. It’s taking new areas,” Cravatta said. “It just keeps going where people thought they were safe. We’re nowhere near over.”