Reducing Animal Overpopulation: What You Can Do
There is a 74% increased Probability of owners finding Lost Pets if the animals are Microchipped.
• 1 in 3 pets will get lost.
• Dogs are 2.4 times more likely to be returned to owners when microchipped. Cats are 21.4 times more likely to be returned to owners when microchipped.
In 2015, a Siamese cat named Bogie, who escaped from his carrier at the Honolulu International Airport during his family’s move to Michigan, was reunited with his owners after 19 months. Bill Antilla, a volunteer with Hawaii Cat Friends, was able to facilitate the reunion when he found Bogie in Honolulu and scanned his chip to discover that the feline’s family lived in Detroit.
If one in every five of the Americans who are considering getting a dog or cat chose to adopt from a shelter or rescue this year, rather than buying from a breeder or pet store, euthanasia among healthy, treatable pets would be eradicated.
Percentage of O‘ahu pet owners who acquired their pets from profit-making entities rather than shelters or rescues.
3. SPAY AND NEUTER
An estimated 378,000 dogs and cats belong to families on O‘ahu. Nearly 30 percent, or about 113,000 of these animals are not sterilized.
• One female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats in 7 years. One female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years.
Only 1 in 10 Domestic cats entering animal shelters Have Been spayed or neutered Prior.
4. TRAP, NEUTER, RETURN
Feral cat populations can be balanced by residents’ participation in a trap, neuter, and return initiative. The Hawaiian Humane Society has traps available on loan or for purchase.
There are 300,000 + free-roaming cats on O‘ahu.
In order to effectively reduce the population of feral cats on the island of O‘ahu, at least 75 percent of these 300,000 cats must be sterilized.
• Seventeen percent of O‘ahu residents report feeding cats they did not own. Of these residents, 70 percent said they didn’t know if the cat was sterilized or not.
• Only about 6,000 feral cats are sterilized annually via the efforts of Hawaiian Human Society, Hawaii Cat Friends, Hawaii Cat Foundation, and other cat advocacy groups.
5. BECOME A FOSTER PARENT
With limited space available in shelters, animals that need extra care (they may be too young, sick, or injured) or that are slow to be adopted are sometimes placed in the temporary care of volunteers. “We keep them as long as it takes to find them a home. There is no time limit. We foster for space when needed and need more people to choose adoption.” —Hawaiian Humane Society
Number of animals placed in foster homes by the Hawaiian Humane Society in 2015. Twenty percent of animals available for adoption have benefited from fostering.
6. ADVOCATE FOR MORE PET-FRIENDLY HOUSING
Percentage of those who surrendered pets to shelters because their residences did not allow pets. The next most common reason cited for pet displacement was behavior issues, trailing at nine percent.
7. VOLUNTEER AT YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL RESCUE
In addition to the Hawaiian Humane Society, which is located on O‘ahu and remains the largest of such organizations in the state, there are many shelters in Hawai‘i that specialize in animal rescue:
• On O‘ahu, Poi Dogs and Popoki focuses on assisting economically disadvantaged pet owners by helping them provide their pets with safe living environments (such as installing fences to keep dogs contained rather than securing them with chains) and by offering spay and neuter services.
• On Lāna‘i, The Lāna‘i Cat Sanctuary, which cares for about 300 cats in an open-air, 15,000-square-foot facility, was started by Kathy Carroll and Loretta Hellrung, who set out to trap and sterilize the island’s feral cat population nearly a decade ago.
• On Maui, the Maui Pitbull Rescue, the only one of its kind in the state, saves pitbulls who may be considered otherwise unadoptable due to health or aggression issues. Maui Pitbull rescues include those abandoned by breeders, deformed puppies, injured or lost hunting dogs, and bait dogs that have been dumped by dog fighters.
• On Big Island, Three Ring Ranch offers sanctuary to exotic animals already in the state, which has included zebras, nēnē, hawks, flamingos, alpaca, and others.
*Sources: American Veterinary Medical Foundation’s U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook; a 2012 American Humane Association and Petsmart study on pet retention; “Understanding Oahu’s Animal Population & Community Responsibility,” published by Hawaiian Humane Society in 2013; Hawaiian Humane Society’s 2015 Annual Report; Humane Society of the United States; O‘ahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Hawaii Cat Foundation.