It's hard to judge anyone by reading a few words chosen to describe them. [See "Maui Humane Society Names New CEO" at www.mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532540/Maui-Humane-Society-Names-New-CEO.html?nav=13.]
Just "working in" these areas, doesn't mean anything, whereas it's how long, and at what capacity, what accomplishments were achieved, and what they want to accomplish in the future that really matter. For example, when the newly hired Maui Humane Society CEO said she has worked in no-kill, what exactly does that mean? Has she been to a recent conference of Nathan Winograds or read "Redemption," studied and really understands the no-kill philosophy and how to make changes? Does she want to make changes? Or is she just going by someone else's definition?
What we need and are hoping for is a true leader who will take charge.
We need someone who jumps in and says, "We can save all healthy and treatable animals, just like hundreds of other shelters across the country are doing, including open admission shelters and we will start now!" Pushing trap-neuter-return, stopping backyard breeding, increasing adoptions and going to businesses, into communities and using tourists are a few of the many things that can be done to help a lot more animals instead of sitting back, giving excuses and continuing as is, slowly, depending on others to take the steps.
We need someone really dedicated to law enforcement, too--someone who is going to hold people accountable and really uphold the laws.
There are several individuals, small groups and nonprofits, aside from MHS, working toward no-kill, law enforcement and making Maui a better place for animals, but they all are run by volunteers, who are working other jobs and using their own money to support organizations such as HARF, SPCA, Valley Isle Rescue, 9th Life and others. They are doing great things, but all struggle step by step.
The MHS is the island's shelter. They get county funds, use state land and receive thousands of dollars in donations. MHS has around 50 paid staff members, and scores of volunteers and thousands of contacts. MHS has a lot of great people.
Instead of sitting back, using a century-old animal population control methodology, misguiding people about what no-kill is and saying "things are fine--we are doing a great job--send us your money, use these assets to the fullest! Get your staff, volunteers and the community excited about what can be done! Be willing to say, "No, things are not fine. But we can do more! Starting today we will, and here's what we need to do!"
A new MHS leader can make a huge difference to Maui's animals.
We are hopeful--but only time will tell.