KOKEE — Lexie was found on Nov. 13, roaming around the hunter check-in station along Kokee Road.
If she had a microchip and license, and field officers with Kauai Humane Society could have gotten ahold of the owners, the 10-month old Airedale/terrier mix could have been returned to home — maybe even for free.
But instead the dog is awaiting adoption or owner claiming at KHS, along with two others who were picked up from the Kokee kennels.
“We are finding more and more dogs from the Kokee kennels are no longer lost hunting dogs, but are simply unwanted dogs who have been abandoned,” said Jessica Venneman, KHS field services manager.
Dogs that aren’t traditional hunting breeds — like a Chihuahua, for example — are showing up in higher numbers at the kennels, field officers say, and puppies occasionally appear in the kennels. Field officers say they think some of them are abandoned in Kokee and then found by good Samaritans or abandoned at the kennels themselves.
There are three kennels that are situated at the hunter check station between mile marker 7 and mile marker 8 on Kokee Road, and each is about 3-feet by 4-feet in size.
Each has an automatic water system to keep dogs hydrated, and good Samaritans — citizens, visitors and volunteers — often supply them with food.
The kennels are intended to be a hunter lost-dog reclaim location, governed by the honor system, and dogs that have been placed in the kennels can be reclaimed from there at any time.
When they’re not reclaimed at the kennels, those same kinds of good Samaritans call KHS, and field officers step into the picture.
“If we have to take the dog back to Kauai Humane Society, it’s given an evaluation and put up in a space. It gets more expensive,” Venneman said. “But if we can get ahold of the owner and return the dog before that, we don’t charge fees.”
The humane officer leaves an invoice on the hunter check station bulletin board detailing the description and defining characteristics of all the dogs that are taken to KHS, along with the date, so those looking for lost dogs know where to find them.
The dogs that remain at KHS after the 48-hour stray holding period are evaluated to be placed up for adoption.
That’s the case for Lexie and the two other dogs — Frodo and Gandolf — recently taken to KHS.
While Gandolf and Frodo were both found at the kennels, Lexie’s story is a little bit different because she was found wandering around the kennels, not in them.
“That happens sometimes,” Venneman said. “We’ll find stray dogs roaming around the kennels, maybe the other dogs attract them.”
The frequency of KHS field officer visits to the Kokee kennels is based on calls received, and sometimes field officers get five calls per week. Generally there are between one and six dogs in the kennels when field officers arrive.
“Please bring any dogs that you know are not recently lost, genuine hunting dogs, directly to KHS,” Venneman said.