Hawaiian Humane Society restores services under city contract
Stray dog pickups and law enforcement work such as dangerous dog investigations and barking dog complaints resume today
News Release from City and County of Honolulu, December 28, 2015
Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today that the Hawaiian Humane Society will immediately resume providing convenient animal services to the community,such as picking up non-dangerous stray dogs and responding to barking complaints.
Effective today, the following services will again be provided by the Humane Society’s field investigations and response team:
- stray animal rescue and pick up,
- dangerous dog and dog bite investigations,
- barking dog complaints,
- cat identification law and other law enforcement investigations,
- case work,
- 24-hour rescue and response, and
- 24-7 dispatch.
The Honolulu Police Department will continue to offer all animal-related law enforcement services including rescue assistance. To make a report, please call the HHS at 356-2250.
“The police department is just so busy and they shouldn’t have to deal with barking dogs,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi. “I think this is a win-win because the Humane Society will be getting the extra funds and the police department will no longer have that responsibility.”
“This funding will ensure a safe and humane response to stray animals in our community,” added fellow Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Pine. “The Leeward Coast has the highest level of pet ownership on Oahu, and it’s good to know that when an animal is in trouble, or a stray needs to be picked up, the Hawaiian Humane Society will be there to follow through.”
From Fiscal Year 2010 to 2015, the City and County of Honolulu budgeted $2.35 million to contract with the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) for animal control services and related care. HHS received this contract as part of the open-bid process. HHS was the only qualified bidder.
In Fiscal Year 2014, HHS requested an increase of $800,000 to perform the same service. As the city faced a financial shortfall, it was unable to meet the additional funding request. Thus, a joint decision between the City and HHS was made that unfortunately, services would need to be reduced to meet the level of budgeted funds. Priority was given to animal issues that affect the basic health and safety of the public, and it was ensured that all mandated laws and county rules were addressed. The city then negotiated with HHS to include as much additional services that the organization felt it could provide under the same level of funding.This new agreement became effective on August 1, 2015, or one month into Fiscal Year 2016. HHS used the time between the finalization of the agreement and today to hire personnel and make all of the necessary preparations.
In the current Fiscal Year budget, an additional $800,000 was provided to allow HHS to resume providing the suspended services. As a result, HHS has expanded its personnel to assist with investigations, rescues, stray dog pick-up and dispatch. The field services team now includes 12 staff with five on duty every day island-wide.
The Honolulu Police Department handled animal-related calls when law enforcement services were removed from the Society’s scope of work in August 2013, or one month after the start of Fiscal Year 2014.
The contract with the City provides for stray animal services that includes the following: 24-hour admission of all animals; pet adoptions seven days a week at the shelter in Moiliili as well as six locations island-wide, daily lost and found services, animal sheltering, and medical care and treatment, including sterilization.
Last year, the contract enabled the Hawaiian Humane Society to perform the following services for stray animals: welcome 16,183 animal arrivals, reunite 2,396 animals that were lost, find new families for 3,548 animals through adoption, of which 985 required foster care services, perform 1,041 rescues, as well as sterilize 3,042 animals.
The City & County of Honolulu has had a partnership with the Hawaiian Humane Society since 1915 and its animal services role has expanded over the last 100 years to address animal overpopulation, rescue and protection, spay/neuter and more.
“The City & County of Honolulu has shown great vision and leadership by restoring these services that the community relies on us to provide,” said Pamela Burns, president and CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society since 1990. “Our goal is to strike a harmonious balance between people and animals that share our communities, with public safety and animal welfare as our highest priorities in fulfilling our role for the City.”
Like many communities nationwide, local governments contract nonprofit welfare organizations to provide animal services instead of providing them directly by a county department. It is often more cost efficient and allows the county to benefit from animal welfare experts who specialize in animal sheltering and care as well as animal law enforcement.
Media wishing to interview staff at HHS can contact Community Relations Director Jacque Vaughn at 356-2212.