PUHI — Three month-old Kura was curled up in the arms of Kauai Humane Society animal programs manager Alex Taogoshi on Friday morning, and not interested in joining the rest of the dogs leaving for a day of field trips.
“She’s shy, but she’s really sweet,” Taogoshi said as she brought the hound-mix puppy to the humane society’s reception desk, echoes of Kura’s kennel-mates following the pair.
“It’s really busy around here right now.”
December was a busy month for intakes — a story that’s repeated throughout the nation.
Kura was surrendered to KHS two days after Christmas, on Dec. 27, one of 30 owner-surrenders that KHS received between Christmas day and Jan. 9.During the same timeframe in the 2018/2019 holiday season there were 11 owner-surrenders.
That can cause overcrowding problems, said KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz.
“While KHS did experience more owner-surrenders immediately following December 25th, we also experienced a rise in adoptions,” Horowitz said. “Across the country, shelters usually see an increase in owner-surrenders after the holidays.”
As of last week, KHS had 236 animals in its system — 68 dogs, 135 cats (91 adult cats and 44 kittens) and two guinea pigs. KHS also had two cats at Petco, seven dogs in foster care, and 22 cats and kittens in foster care.
December saw 86 animals adopted from KHS. Sixty-seven animals were adopted between Dec. 1 and Dec. 25, another 19 were adopted from Dec. 26 – Dec. 31. In November 2019, KHS adopted out 78 animals, and in October 2019 there were 71 animals adopted from the shelter.
“A lot just after Christmas,” Horowitz said.
There are many reasons that owners surrender pets to humane societies, particularly after the holidays, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, including problematic behaviors, animals growing larger than expected, schedules that can’t accommodate animal care or health problems.
For whatever reason they’re surrendered, those animals fill space at KHS until they’re transferred off-island or adopted.
“Our transfer program’s helping out a lot,” Taogoshi said. “It’s creating space. Of course that fills fast.”
Transfers to mainland shelters for adoption are one of the ways that KHS is able to maintain enough space for animals.
In December, KHS transferred 62 dogs and cats to the mainland, while 626 were transferred to the mainland in 2019.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.