Kauaʻi Humane Society flies nearly 200 animals to Seattle

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    “Passengers” wait to board their chartered flight to Seattle Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    After a brief rain storm, volunteers and Kaua‘i Humane Society staff dry animal kennels before loading them onto the plane at Lihu‘e Airport Sunday.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Humane Society volunteers and staff load cats on the plane bound for Seattle Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    Kenzie and Pringle wait patiently to be loaded up on the Evojets charter to Seattle Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    As animals are unloaded, volunteers and Kaua‘i Humane Society staff wait in their cars on the tarmac to bring in more critters Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    Animals share carriers to make space for as many shelter pets as possible, preparing for loading onto a jet bound for Seattle and new homes Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    A brief heavy rain did not hamper the rescue mission Sunday at Lihu‘e Arirport.

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    Cats wait to have their carriers secured before take off Sunday at Lihu‘e Airport.

An EvoJets private charter departed from Lihu‘e Airport early Sunday morning with a very special passenger manifest. Apple, Olivander and Rigatoni were all on board when the Seattle-bound flight took off with 187 shelter animals — bringing 175 cats and 12 dogs about 2,700 miles closer to their forever homes.

Getting the animals off the island was an important step in getting them adopted.

“Currently (Kaua‘i Humane Society) has a population that is far beyond the capacity of the shelter,” Executive Director Nicole Crane said. “With the limited resident population in Kaua‘i we must look beyond our island for positive outcomes for our animals.”

Getting the animals into homes was a community effort.

KHS board members donated the $60,000 necessary for this unique rescue mission and, when it was announced that the animals would need traveling crates, 233 arrived by donation.

“It has been really overwhelming how much people have gotten behind us,” said Crane.

Prospective pet owners on the mainland also stepped up. Some of the animals will be transferred to partner shelters on the mainland, but the majority will be going directly into the homes of families who adopted them based on their online profiles.

Lynnette Row lives near Tacoma, Wash. She heard about the flight on social media and adopted four kittens. “I had a really hard time (choosing), because I really wanted all of them,” said Row.

Rebecca Sunnybrook adopted a blind cat named Alabama.

“I am so excited to get Alabama. His bubble capsule backpack is set to go too when he is ready to ‘see’ Seattle smells,” she posted on social media

Moving to a more-seasonal mainland will be an adjustment for the animals, but Crane expects they will do well, though “some might need sweaters in their new environment,” she said.

There was a huge demand for Kaua‘i’s cats and dogs. The flight could only accommodate 200 animals, so KHS was left with the heartbreaking task of turning away hundreds of interested adopters.

Shelter staff has been very appreciative of the outpouring of support.

“The staff is really grateful for adopters stepping up to take care of the animals,” Crane said. “It’s very exciting to be part of saving an animal’s life.”


Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or lsmith@thegardenisland.com.

  1. joe August 30, 2021 5:51 am Reply

    Wow 60,000.00 dollars for this mission…. that seems like a lot of money – when so many people could use help with their housing options during this critical time.

    1. Scott August 30, 2021 9:37 am Reply

      You’re free to donate your own money to the cause you feel is most important. That’s how private donations work.

    2. Wailua ohana August 30, 2021 10:48 am Reply

      Money well spent.. I’ll support loving happy animals over grumpy negative humans any day.

    3. Marie August 30, 2021 2:27 pm Reply

      I love how people love to tell other people how to spend their money. You’re welcome to donate towards helping with housing issues, all you want, no one will stop you. Now if we could only get residents to spay and neuter we wouldn’t have this issue in the first place.

    4. Rose August 31, 2021 7:08 am Reply

      Bah humbug!!

  2. Joy Fuller August 30, 2021 9:00 am Reply

    Thank you volunteers/staff for getting up before the crack of dawn to help drive animals to the airport.

  3. Joy Fuller August 30, 2021 9:06 am Reply

    And a big thank you to the volunteer that came in extra early to exercise the dogs that didn’t go and are still waiting for homes here.

  4. randy kansas August 30, 2021 9:47 am Reply

    big carbon footprint for sure…..so much for the Kauai green energy program….

    1. Makani B. Howard August 30, 2021 10:03 am Reply

      Well Randy, I’m sure this wouldn’t happen if people would spay and neuter their cats here on island. Which would you rather the animal shelter do: kill all the animals,….. all 200 of them… or ship them to loving homes in Seattle??

    2. curious dog August 30, 2021 10:58 am Reply

      Randy Kansas, check out flightradar24.com & you’ll see why KI will NEVER be carbon-neutral. How many KI residents use Amazon Prime? Cheap, free-delivery deals are flown in 24/7 & we cry when they arrive a day late.

      It’s nice to see animals are finally the benefactors of our gluttonous over-use of air travel. All those private jets & tour helicopters….Really?

      I’m curious if KHS will re-start their program that allowed KI tourists to adopt a pet & fly it home w/them. That would be ideal!

  5. Marie August 30, 2021 2:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for helping our animals in need! Great job!

  6. Jana P Mansfield August 31, 2021 7:50 am Reply

    Thank you All for helping the animals!!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.