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Humane society over capacity with cats

More people surrendering animals due to COVID-19

The Maui News

Kitten season and the COVID-19 pandemic have put the cat population at Maui Humane Society at a “critically high level beyond shelter capacity,” the organization said Wednesday evening.

The shelter has 87 cats waiting to be adopted and 155 more in foster care, and is putting out an “SOS” call for foster homes.

Due to COVID airline restrictions, the humane society has been unable to transfer animals to Mainland shelters through their Wings of Aloha program for the past four months. Regular direct flights from Maui to Pacific Northwest transfer locations have been canceled and unattended animals can’t fly with layovers due to the strong possibility of flight cancellations.

Last year, the humane society sent 800 animals to Mainland rescue groups through the program. During “kitten season,” they could transfer 50 to 60 animals a week.

“Our community does not have the ability to absorb this many animals, especially considering the financial impact of COVID,” Jenny Miller, director of development and marketing, said in a news release. “People are downsizing, leaving the island and surrendering pets.”

At the height of the pandemic, the shelter had to pause public spay and neuter services, which contributed to the kitten population increase, the humane society said. And, since July 1, an increasing number of animals have been surrendered to the shelter due to unemployment, financial constraints and owners moving.

“If we could find a donor with a private plane, we would fill it up with cats and dogs and fly them to our transfer partners in Portland,” Miller added. “We are geographically isolated and our organization is financially restricted. We must think outside the box for solutions.”

The humane society is seeking foster homes for kittens five months and over. Interested residents can email Foster911 @mauihumanesociety.org with their name, phone number, age of kitten/cat that best fits their home and whether they can foster more than one.

Adoption fees are sponsored on all cats ages three months and up until the end of August. All adoptable animals are featured online at mauihumanesociety.org and are available for virtual meet-and-greet appointments by calling 877-3680 ext. 3.

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