Hawaiian Humane Society Under Fire for Euthanizing Several Thousand Animals Each Year

Hawaiian Humane Society touts record of 22 adoptions per day but advocates say more needs to be done to stop euthanizing animals
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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.

Hawaiian Humane Society touts record of 22 adoptions per day but advocates say more needs to be done to stop euthanizing animals

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.

On Thursday, Hawaiian Humane Society president and CEO Pamela Burns issued a letter to supporters, touting the organization’s record 8,021 adoptions this year or about 22 adoptions a day for the last 12 months.

“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.”

Hawaiian Humane Society

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.





  1. […] Hawaiian Humane Society Under Fire for Euthanizing Several Thousand … 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 … Read more on Hawaii Reporter […]

  2. I was going to join and be a monthly donor, although I couldn't give too much, but now I'm hesitant after reading this article about the thousands of cats and dogs being euthanized yearly. I am so sad to read this. If I was younger, I would have loved to adopt a couple of dogs, but I am 66 years old and stricken with cancer and I have an English Bulldog who is a handful. I am very confused now

    • My family and I sent our two dogs to find them a home on Monday… We just realized that they killed our dogs in 2 days.. I am really shocked now…. They promised my parents that they would never kill our dogs… I can't believe what just happened to us… I sent our dogs to find them a better home not to kill them. I told them we would come back and take our dog if they are not adopted by anyone…Why do they have to kill my dogs right away?
      When I posted this story on their facebook they erased my post right away. I hope everyone knows that Hawaiian Humane Society easily euthanizes animals… If I would know this fact earlier I would never send my dogs to the Humane Society this week. I am regretting what I have done this week….
      I really miss my lovely two dogs…..

      • That is why I am really afraid to ask them about helping me find a home for my cat. My son is allergic to cats and we just found out after we fell in love with her and now we are trying our hardest to find her a home.

  3. This has been going on forever! Why not expand the building, might be able to get animal lover to help? Why not approach DHL for a parcel of a few acres? Make an effort to do something else other than continuing to give your
    pathetic excuses for being in-humane!

    • you really missed your dogs? then you should not have gave them up! I wish people who adopt a pet would realize that they are to become members of the family and not an object to disguard.

  4. I don't know the details of the reasons "too many animals are being euthanized". But neglected animals can pick up and spread diseases, like rats. I'm not saying pets are rats, but there can be a potential health impact by keeping so many animals with out attention.

  5. Maybe the Government can solve the issue. The legislature can pass a bill that makes it mandatory to have a cat or dog in every home in Hawaii. And face a 10 year prison sentence for violations.

    That's how the leftist/statist would solve the problem.

  6. Hawaiian Humane Society does not just randomly "kill"peoples' pets.
    They have to deal with a HUGE number of pets being brought in to surrender, as well as the strays they pick up, and they do everything they can to care for them, get them into foster care, and adopt them out. they treat many medical conditions that would surprise you and still adopt them out. When every animal comes in, a health check and temperament check is done, and they know to consider the animal may be stressed because of the new environment and separation from its family causes enormous stress. While it is hard for the owners who surrender for hardship reasons, there are also those who just DUMP animals. In each case people expect the Humane Society to pick up afterthem and guarantee their animals will be adopted. They do NOT, as a policy, say this animal WILL be adopted becau they need to assess its health and behavior to assure it is not having severe health or behavior issues. The biggest issue is assessing if an animal can ethically be adopted is behavior. if an animal shows agression, has a history of biting or attacking humans or animals, do you honestly think it is ethical or safe to put that animal up for someone to adopt, with that knowledge? When people have animals that they have issues with, tho they love them, yet don.t work on their issues- whether it is fear, anti social behavior, etc. do you think it is fair to make the Humane Society responsible for curing those issues?? Please look at the BIGGER and complete picture of what goes on when people surrender their pets. Most are just fine and eventully can be adopted and their is NO time limit, as long as that animal is adoptable, and that means its behavior is safe and non aggressive to people or other animals. Can you imagine the horror, not to mention legal recourse, if Humane Society adopted out a dog that freaked out when anyone came near it and bit or worse, and they KNEW that before hand? They DO have dogs that are shy, nervous, a little stressed or fearful and they count on volunteers and fosters to try to help socialize those animals because they do see positive and hopeful blossoming in that animal. If, however, an animal is completely anti social to anyone except its original owner and NO ONE can even get near it, how can you expect them to tell the public this dog is a great pet and they feel it is safe for you to bring home? Learn the whole story before making very serious accusations and charges.

  7. There is a DOG EPIDEMIC in Hawaii!

    Humans are people too! So sick of moving my family FROM 3 HOUSES because of the stupid dog owners can't control their stupid barking dogs

    I'm already planning to sue 2 dog owner neighbors – evil, out of control NOISE-MAKERS on this beautiful island. Do us all a favor and STOP BREEDING.

  8. I've read some shocking horror stories about the Hawaii Humane Society on many internet pages, including craigslist. Just today I read a posting from a man who says that the Humane Society lied to his friend about having his hunting dogs in their care. When the friend used his dog tracker to try to find his dog on his own, he actually wound up right at the humane society! He found that they did indeed have his dogs in their custody as they had cut off the tracking collars of his dogs and threw them in the trash. Instead of admitting their wrong doings and handing over the man's dogs, they called the police on him and had him escorted off their grounds. This poster also says that his other contact tried to report them after their dog wound up being neutered after having been found and turned into their care, rather then left as is and placed in the lost and found section of their site. There is another craigslist poster who is petitioning others to join them in the fight against the Hawaii Humane Society for their reckless, careless, and sneaky behavior. This person has said that many people have experienced loss pf pets as a result of HHS. If anyone wants to join them, email the poster at 2wt3r-3902131406@comm.craigslist.org

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