More options in animal control

LIHUE — Kauai Humane Society’s animal services contract with County of Kauai could be on the chopping block if the council’s 2018 legislative proposal package is accepted.

The council is formulating its wish list for the Legislature. One of those items is a proposal to delete the provision in the Hawaii Revised Statutes for the County of Kauai to contract Kauai Humane Society to provide animal services.

That would open up the contract to other organizations for bid.

It’s something that’s been discussed before and according to KHS board president Diann Hartman, it has KHS’s support because it would remove some extra burden from their shoulders.

“KHS could then continue to provide for the community its valuable services and educational programs, continuing to operate as a shelter taking in animals surrendered to its care,” she said.

Council member Mel Rapozo was behind putting the proposal before the council, which voted to accept it into the 2018 County of Kauai Legislative Package on Wednesday without discussion.

Rapozo did not return requests for comment on the proposal before press time.

Kauai Humane Society executive director Scott Pisani said Thursday he was unaware of the county’s proposal. He said his recent decision to leave his post at KHS wasn’t related it.

Currently KHS is contracted to run the county’s animal control, educational programs of animal welfare and the issuing dog and cat licenses.

KHS also is the county shelter for housing animals in a safe, secure environment and is the arm for dealing with cruelty and neglect of animals, including livestock.

Kauai is the only county in Hawaii that has a mandated organization included in their HRS statute regarding animal control.

“If another organization received the contract instead of KHS, that in effect would make them the open-intake shelter for the island, meaning they take in all animals regardless of temperament or physical condition,” Hartman said.

Potentially, KHS could partner with the county-designated organization to take on some of the animals that stretch that organization past it’s own resources.

Over the past five years, KHS has taken in about 4,000 animals annually, with the total in 2016 being 3,433 animals. This includes strays and owner surrenders.

In 2016, about 85 percent of intake — or 2,952 animals — were strays.

Animal dispatch responds to nearly 2,000 calls annually, with last year’s list of calls totaling to 1,739. Animal dispatch addresses calls from Haena to Polihale about stray animals, animal cruelty, barking dogs, bites/scratches, abandonment, dead and severely injured animals for the County of Kauai.

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