KIPU — Less than three weeks after evacuating nearly 200 animals to Seattle, the Kaua‘i Humane Society is at capacity again.
This month, the shelter has taken in over 150 new animals. To address the overcrowding, KHS is partaking in a nationwide Clear the Shelter campaign by hosting two free adoption days, today and Saturday.
For the next two days only, adoption fees will be waved for all animals. KHS will also offer free vaccinations for pets and hosting a virtual gala, PAWS for Celebration.
“Sometimes having a special event helps bring potential adopters into the shelter,” said Executive Director Nicole Schafer in a written response. “It can be hard to connect to an animal through a photo on a website, but once you get to see the animals in person and see their personality and how they interact with you, it can help form bonds that lead to adoptions and happy homes.”
Currently, KHS is home to 362 animals.
“(Overcrowding) is a constant concern we all have at KHS. We do not want animals to reside at the shelter. We want to see animals find a home a family,” she said.
”Overcrowding causes stress and disease, which is why KHS works so hard to promote our animals and try to find them opportunities outside of the shelter, whether with an adopter, a foster or a transfer partner,” said Schafer.
On average, KHS can send 35 animals per month off-island to transfer partners. Unfortunately, this falls far short of the hundreds of animals the shelter takes in each month.
To control the number of animals at the shelter, KHS staggers pet-relinquishing appointments and provids support for pet owners.
“We try and problem solve with pet owners,” said Erin Olsen, KHS director of operations. “If it is a temporary challenge that we can assist with, we do. We would rather help (pet owners) with those things so we can help keep their family member with them.”
Olsen helps community members assess whether to take a stray animal to the shelter or if an animal is better left in its current environment to be monitored. Some of those animals might be able to be reunited with their owners without ever entering the shelter. Healthy stray cats might do better in their current environments than at the shelter.
“If an animal is injured and it is an emergency, that is our priority. That is why we try not to get filled up,” said Olsen. “We are so proud that we are a shelter that is doing good things. We are not euthanizing animals because we are out of space.”
Adoption applications and profiles of available animals can be found at kauaihumane.org.
Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.