Editor’s note: Kauai Humane Society Executive Director Scott Pisani read the following remarks during a Kauai County committee meeting on Wednesday.
Let me begin by thanking the many members of our island community who are here in person, are streaming this session on-line, or are watching on our public access cable channel. It is encouraging to see such passionate interest in animal welfare in our community.
The Kauai Humane Society was founded in 1952 as a local, independent, nonprofit organization. The County of Kauai contracts with KHS to perform specific responsibilities on the county’s behalf, including the intake and holding of stray cats and dogs and animal cruelty investigation and enforcement.
We would like to thank the team from Spire Hawaii for the audit work performed. We found them to be a professional and fair-minded organization.
Included in the audit results is our response on each of the audit findings. We believe that the audit highlights good opportunities for improvement in the services we provide to the County of Kauai and its residents. We embrace the opportunity to work with the county to improve the services we provide to our island community.
If I may I would also like to directly address the residents of Kauai. In my three months as executive director of the Kauai Humane Society, I have met several stakeholders in our community — leaders of other animal welfare organizations, elected officials, small business owners and other residents. I feel fortunate to have received genuine well-wishes and support for the Humane Society.
However, I have also heard numerous stories from you demonstrating ways that the Kauai Humane Society failed to meet your expectations.
To those residents, I say this. We the employees and volunteers of the Kauai Humane Society are committed to improving the services we provide to our community, from customer service to animal wellness and rehabilitation, from spay/neuter to adoptions. We welcome your feedback, your criticisms and your suggestions to help guide our path toward improvement.
We are taking action and will continue to take action to improve your experience with KHS and to restore your trust in us as a great animal welfare organization. We do not intend to accomplish this by ourselves in a vacuum, but to partner with other animal welfare organizations and you, the residents of Kauai, to develop community-based solutions which increase the healing provided to our pets and the people who love them, while reducing the divisiveness that has caused much frustration and anxiety.
Two recent examples of progress include our Home for the Holidays program and our Transfer Program Match Campaign. Each of these initiatives would not have been successful without the support of our community, and the success of each is a testament to what we can accomplish working together.
The Home for the Holidays program resulted in an extra 20 animals getting adopted over Christmas weekend. The Transfer Program Match Campaign resulted in raising funds for an additional 130 animals to be transferred off island. In January alone we were able to transfer 61 animals to mainland shelters where they found loving homes.
Saving over 150 lives in this short time is quite an accomplishment but it only represents the beginning. Over the coming weeks and months, you will see the following initiatives rolled out to significantly increase the lives saved and reduce euthanasia:
w A friendlier, more open approach to adoptions
w The continued expansion of our transfer program to provide homeless island pets with loving homes on the Mainland
w An animal behavior program to provide the animals in our care with kennel enrichment and to provide concerned stakeholders with confidence and transparency in our behavior philosophy and our behavior evaluation process
w A more robust foster program to further provide for the medical and behavioral rehabilitation of animals in our care
w Evaluating, improving, and further investing in spay-neuter programs to maximize their impact islandwide
w Growing our network of rescue groups so when an animal’s needs are beyond our means to heal there are other more options to save that animal’s life
w New approaches to partnering with various segments of our community for unique solutions
w Transparency in our communications and garnering ongoing feedback from community members such as yourself so that we are held accountable and continue our progress in a positive direction
While some may remain skeptical, I truly believe we are off to a fresh start with some innovative programs and increased community collaboration. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to make these improvements and make everyone proud to have the Kauai Humane Society in our community.
In my personal work experience, I’ve been part of an organization which reduced the number of animals euthanized annually by 80 percent over a three-year period using programs much like the ones I’ve just mentioned. Because of the unique dynamics here on Kauai initiatives must be customized to our community needs and we will be looking at home-grown solutions as well.
But I am confident that with your support we will be able to refresh our Humane Society, grow our community and partner bonds and make a significant positive impact on our community.
Thank you for your passion, your support, and your partnership. And thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.