An estimated 10,000 cats and a “few thousand” dogs are euthanized each year at the Hawaiian Humane Society on Oahu.
Animal rescue advocates believe this is too many and they want the killing stopped.
In response, Council Member Tom Berg introduced Bill 57, a measure that aims to “give homeless cats and dogs an opportunity to stay alive.”
The Hawaiian Humane Society opposes the measure because the organization claims the bill would cause overcrowding and force sick animals to be housed with well ones.
But Linda Nunn and Paul Johnson of the Animal Re-homing group in Auckland, New Zealand, support the bill, because they oppose the way Hawaii’s homeless animal population is being managed.
“The current system with the Hawaiian Humane Society taking responsibility for homeless animals is not working. Literally thousands of animals are being killed at this facility for want of loving caregivers,” they said.
Nunn and Johnson also are opposed to the “killing methods” used by the Hawaiian Humane Society.
In a letter to the city council, they said: “We also urge you to investigate the killing methods used by the HHS. Lethal injection into a body cavity (and methods used to place the needle into such cavity) are questionable and can result in a 15 minute dying period and in misplaced injections. Surely the animals can instead be sedated and a lethal injection placed directly into a vein for an immediate death?”
On Wednesday, the council passed Berg’s bill on the first of three required readings.
“Nearly 40% of our island families acquired their most recent pet from a business or breeder. Even more got them from friends and family. So those that choose adoption are a special breed of animal lovers whose compassion for the homeless is inspiring. We are so grateful to so many who support our cause,” Burns said.
Nunn and Johnson as well as organizations that help rescue animals on Oahu want the other local animal rescue operations to have more power, funding and reach.
“With so many animals under its umbrella at any time, it is understandable that the Humane Society is unable to make adoption the necessary priority of its workload.”
Nunn and Johnson say Bill 57 would open the door for way for smaller rescue groups, like their own, to use their skill, their fosterers, their animal-friendly databases and other resources to assist in the placement of many of these doomed animals.
Stephanie Ryan, founder of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), said she supports Bill 57 with modifications.
Burns said the Hawaiian Human Society is open to partnerships: “As the Humane Society moves towards devoting more resources to spay/neuter, lost and found, adoptions, education, prevention and outreach, we welcome partnerships to help animals that come to us in need. Our work is the collective success of your contributions. Everyone can do something, large or small, to help make Hawaii a better place for the animals and people we serve. We will continue to provide solutions to the fullest extent of our resources, as we have since 1883.”
The debate over Bill 57 will continue Tuesday beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the council’s Parks and Recreation committee, which is chaired by Berg.
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