Animal shelters have also had to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hawaiian Humane Society and Maui Humane Society have had to shut down most of their operations but are still open for emergencies and appointments only.  

But since the stay at home order was issued back in March, they’ve kept busy finding animals homes.

“We made an initial call-out for emergency foster volunteers on March 17, and since then we’ve placed over 500 animals in foster care and over 350 animals have been adopted,” explained Jessica Tronoski, Communications Manager for Hawaiian Humane Society. “Some of which have actually been adopted by their foster families which is really exciting.”

She said HHS typically sees 100 animals in foster care at any given time.

“Being able to place 500 in foster care in the span of about a month is really, really amazing,” she added.

She said foster care is great for people who are considering adopting a pet.

Residents on the Valley Isle have also stepped up.

“Right now, our total animals that we’re taking care of are 167,” said Maui Humane Society CEO Steve MacKinnon. “Of those, 127 are with foster families.”

“We’re seeing a lot of reports that the reason why people are stepping up is because they have a little bit of cabin fever, and what a great idea to have a cat, kitten, or puppy in the house,” he said.

He said they have 125 families who are on standby that have expressed interest in fostering.

At MHS, they have temporarily split their teams in half. One team works for two weeks then they rotate to the other team which works for two weeks.

Both Maui and Hawaiian Humane Societies have temporarily switched to online adoption and foster meet ups and drive thrus.

“If a pet happens to be with a foster family, we bring them in and we make the link up right here in the parking lot. That way we reduce the chances of any type of exposure,” said MacKinnon.

“If you’re interested in foster and adopting those have moved to online and telephone appointments for pet selection and drive thru animal pickup, so you don’t have to step foot on campus,” said Tronoski.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations, but it is rare. The CDC also said the risk of animals spreading COVID to humans is low.

“We’ve actually taken in some animals that came out of COVID-exposed homes,” said MacKinnon. “We’re following the national standards and protocols to make sure they’re safe and they’ll stay healthy.”

He said there hasn’t been any risk to his staff. “We really want to assure people at home that their pets are safe and healthy.”

Although the chances of spreading COVID among animals is low, the CDC recommends:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

Both locations have also received many donations and more is needed during these difficult times.

The Hawaiian Humane Society’s food bank is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for those who cannot afford pet food at this time.

In the past week, the HHS has distributed over 3,000 pounds of pet food.

People who have recently adopted or are considering adopting their foster pet should start training their pet now so they’re prepared for when the stay-at-home order is lifted.

For more information on the Maui Humane Society click here.

For more information on the Hawaiian Humane Society, click here.