New wheels for ‘Direct Release’

  • Photo by George McWilliams

    Kauai Humane Society’s Direct Release Coordinators Mary Zakula and Chris Graybosch pose with pets and the new van for the Direct Release program.

PUHI — Kauai Humane Society has a new van for the Direct Release Program thanks to Howard Appel and David Cohen, owners of Destinations in Paradise.

Appel and Cohen challenged KHS with a matching fund drive to purchase the van. The KHS Direct Release program is a state contracted program for the required inspection of every dog and cat that arrives on Kauai in order to keep Hawaii rabies free.

Owners are required to vaccinate and test their pets over a four-month period on the Mainland prior to flying to Hawaii to avoid the pet having to be quarantined.

This van improves efficiency in meeting and greeting the animals, checking documents and providing a stress-free inspection for the pets.

“People want to travel with their pets now, especially those in the community with part-time homes on the island. The KHS Direct Release program helps people navigate the state requirements and keeps the pet in caring hands,” said Mary Zakula, Direct Release coordinator. “Revenue earned by this program is key to helping KHS continue saving and treating the thousands of homeless pets that come into the shelter each year.”

Appel and Cohen have been strong supporters of KHS for a number of years, donating funds based on matching funds being raised by the community.

KHS is always up for the challenge and supporters are too. Appel and Cohen earmarked $65,000 for the transport program, an absolutely critical program in saving the lives of Kauai’s homeless animals.

With that support, KHS has grown the program from transporting about 100 animals annually four years ago to more than 600 in 2017.

“Thanks to a great partnership with Alaska Airlines, KHS is able to ship the animals via air cargo at reduced rates, allowing for more transfers,” said Diann Hartman, KHS board president. “More transfers means more lives saved, and more love shared with new owners. Donations like those from Destinations in Paradise and our devoted supporters allow us to help more of Kauai’s animals in need.”

Appel and Cohen said their philanthropy supports causes that have a direct and tangible effect on individuals, be they animal or human.

“Nothing gives us greater joy than seeing meaningful change in an individual’s life whether it’s a child with educational opportunities, a cancer patient, or in this case, an animal being saved and going to a happy home,” according to a press release. “We are proud to be a part of the Kauai Humane Society ohana and strongly encourage others to join us in supporting them”.

In a live auction at KHS’ Paws for Celebration fundraiser last year, supporters eagerly donated to have their animal on the wrap for the van.

Generating thousands in donations, Sign &Print Machine in Kapaa recently completed the playful wrap which features donor’s beloved dogs and cats, including those of Appel and Cohen, peeking out the windows of the van.

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