1-14-22 County Animal Control Starts a Pilot Project with Rescue Partners to Transfer Pets to Long-Term Homes on the Mainland
In order to expand its network of transfer partners and help alleviate overcrowding and euthanasia in Hawaii's municipal shelters, the Hawai'i Police Department has launched a pilot project with Paws Across Water Hawai'i (PAWHI) to transfer shelter animals to mainland foster organizations that will help find them permanent homes. Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c3) charity based in Kailua-Kona, is currently in charge of Paws Across Water Hawai'i.
We're thrilled to give these animals a new chance to find loving permanent homes on the mainland, says Regina Serrano, County Animal Control Director. Despite the fact that our county is known as the Big Island, the number of homes willing or able to adopt a shelter pet is limited.
The initiative began on Thursday, January 13, 2022, when Peaches, a whippet mix, flew to California as an escorted pet on Hawaiian Airlines to the Wagging Dog Rescue in Carlsbad, California, where she was promptly adopted by one of Wagging Dog's fosters.
Animal traveling companions from Hawai'i Island to San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland can volunteer to have a shelter animal added to their airline reservation as part of the pilot initiative. Flights to the Bay Area must be direct or include one brief inter-island stop. The program is now accessible on Alaskan and Hawaiian Airlines flights.
Before selecting whether shelter pets, especially elderly animals, are fit for the program, the County of Hawai'i Animal Control will exhaust all efforts to determine local ownership of an animal. PAWHI will manage all of the travel details and any travel charges for the animal, including a travel crate, while Animal Control will spay and neuter the pets, as well as complete health tests and immunizations.
Six mainland rescue organizations in California and Washington are now participating in the test program. To guarantee that the animal fulfills each rescue's individual standards, mainland foster partners choose a cat or dog from the available Animal Control critters. PAWHI will then match the pet with a volunteer who is visiting that area and prepare the animal for travel, including meeting the volunteer at the airport on the day of departure. Upon arrival, the traveler is greeted by a representative from the authorized rescue organization, where the pet begins its search for a forever home.
The trial initiative, which aims to transfer 50-100 animals in the next 6-12 months, will assist alleviate overcrowding in County animal shelters as well as local non-profit animal rescue groups that are still taking in stray animals.
Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary can be reached at (808) 331-8778 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for anybody interested in supporting the program or becoming an animal flying companion. Contact email@example.com for additional information on being a transfer partner with the County of Hawaii Animal Control.