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Homeless Pets Need Help

The economy has affected Maui’s animals.

September 3, 2009
Commentary contributed by Phyllis Tavares · Executive Director, 9th Life Hawai‘i
The dreadful downturn in our economy has affected all of us. We all know people who have lost jobs or homes. Some have moved to the Mainland. What is not common knowledge is how this affects the pets of families whose lives have been disrupted in this flailing economy.

9th Life Hawai‘i gets hundreds and hundreds of calls each month. We are being begged to take in animals from people who have lost their homes. They may be moving into something less expensive where animals are not allowed (shame on the landlords for not being more compassionate). They may be moving back to the Mainland in the hopes of finding employment and simply cannot afford the cost of shipping their beloved pets. The average vet certificate required by the airlines can cost at least $80. Airfare for the animal is over $100. Depending on the size of the animal, crates cost from $30 to $150. What happens to a family that has two cats or three dogs for ten years? Pet owners grieve for these animals that were part of their family, but they simply don’t have the money to take their pets with them.

What happens to these dogs and cats? All across the U.S., animals are being dumped or left behind in empty houses. On Maui, they are dumped at parks, beaches and sugarcane fields or these desperate people call 9th Life Hawai‘i or East Maui Animal Refuge (BooBoo Zoo) hoping to place their animals in a no-kill facility. East Maui Animal Refuge (EMAR) has already sent out an SOS, because their donations have dried up—so have 9th Life Hawai‘i’s. 9th Life and EMAR cannot help these people. We can’t help these hapless animals who have no voice. 9th Life Hawai‘i and EMAR can’t help unless the Maui community that is still able to help considers helping those that cannot speak for themselves. I don’t believe there is one Hawaiian foundation that has companion animal welfare as a focus of interest. I’d like to be wrong about that.

Do you want to help? Call 9th Life Hawai‘i 572-3499 and EMAR 572-8308


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