(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County Animal Control has started a pilot project to transfer animals from shelters to permanent homes on the mainland.
The Hawaii Police Department provided this recent press release:
In order to expand its network of transfer partners to facilitate the reduction of overcrowding and decreased euthanasia of animals at municipal shelters in Hawaii, the Hawaii Police Department announces that it has launched a pilot project with Paws Across Water Hawai’i (PAWHI) to transfer animals from shelters to foster organizations on the mainland that will make it easier for pets to find lifetime homes. Paws Across Water Hawai’i is currently under the stewardship of Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary, a 501 (c3) non-profit organization located in Kailua-Kona.
“We are thrilled to give these animals another opportunity to find loving forever homes on the mainland,” said County Animal Control Director Regina Serrano. “Although our county is called the Big Island, we are actually limited in the number of homes that want or can adopt a shelter animal.”
The project began on Thursday, January 13, 2022, when a whippet mix named “Peaches” flew to California as an accompanied pet on Hawaiian Airlines at the Wagging Dog Rescue in Carlsbad, Calif., where she immediately went to live with one of the Wagging Dog Homes.
Under the pilot, animal flight companions, i.e. travelers from Hawaii Island to San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, can volunteer to add a shelter animal to their airline reservation. . Flights should be direct or to the Bay Area, with a brief inter-island stop. Currently, the program is available for flights on Alaskan and Hawaiian Airlines.
Hawai’i County Animal Control will use its best efforts to determine an animal’s local ownership before determining which shelter pets are suitable for the program, including senior animals. Animal Control will neuter and spay pets, perform health screenings and vaccinations, while PAWHI will take care of all travel details and travel costs for the pet, including a travel crate.
Currently, the pilot program includes six continental rescue organization partners in California and Washington. Mainland foster partners select a cat or dog from available pets to ensure the animal meets the unique criteria for each rescue. PAWHI will then match the animal with a volunteer traveling to that area and prepare the animal for the trip, including meeting the traveler at the airport on the day of departure. Upon landing, the traveler is then greeted by the representative of the designated rescue organization, where the animal begins its journey to a forever home.
The pilot program, which plans to transfer 50 to 100 animals over the next 6 to 12 months, will help reduce overcrowding at county animal shelters, as well as local nonprofit animal rescue groups that accept always stray animals.
Those interested in supporting the program or becoming an animal flight buddy can contact Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary at (808) 331-8778 or email [email protected] If you would like more information on becoming a transfer partner with County of Hawaii Animal Control, contact [email protected]