Maui News

Over 600 Shelter Pets From Hawai’i to Board Largest Pet Rescue Flight in History

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Paws Across the Pacific will fly more than 600 shelter dogs and cats from Hawaiʻi to the US Mainland on Oct. 28, making the pet rescue flight the largest in history, according to organizers. The flight was made possible in coordination with Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, Greater Good Charities and Wings of Rescue.

More than 80 of the shelter pets to board the Paws Across the Pacific are from Maui Humane Society.

“Our own Wings of Aloha transfer program has been on pause for over 6 months due to cancelled flight routes because of COVID. Without the option of sending animals off island, we’ve been relying on foster families to care for our increased animal population, but there’s only so many animals our community can absorb. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time and we are so grateful,” said Steve MacKinnon, Maui Humane Society CEO.

These healthy and loving pets are being moved from overcrowded pet shelters on five islands across the state and then flown to shelters in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana where they’ll be quickly adopted into loving forever homes.


“Pet shelters in Hawaii are in a COVID-19 crisis. Normal operations have been affected by months of shut down, economic downturn, limited hours, and routine flights to mainland halted,” said Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities. “The Paws Across the Pacific flight is urgently needed to make space in Hawaiʻi’s shelters for at-risk pets who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive necessary care to survive.”

On Oct. 28, Paws Across the Pacific will board more than 600 shelter dogs and cats on a chartered Hercules C-130 plane that will make stops on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi islands. Hawaii shelter partners include Kauaʻi Humane Society, Hawaiian Humane Society, Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary, Hawaiʻi Island Humane Society, Maui Humane Society, Aloha ʻIlio Rescue, and Kauaʻi SPCA.

The Hercules C-130 with the over 2,500 furry paws is scheduled to arrive at Seattle’s Boeing Field in the late morning on October 29, where pet shelters and rescue groups will pick them up, while 120 of the shelter pets continue their journey to Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene. Mainland shelter partners include: PAWS, The NOAH Center, Seattle Humane, the Humane Society of Skagit Valley, Kitsap Humane, Oregon Humane, Southwest Washington Humane, Kootenai Humane Society, Seattle Area Feline Rescue (SAFR), Tracs, Spokanimal, Blue Mountain Humane Society, and Embrace a Discarded Pet Society.


The Paws Across the Pacific airlift is being conducted in coordination with the Hawaiʻi Veterinary Medical Association to ensure the safety and health of pets on the flight. In addition to flying pets to their new families, Greater Good Charities and The Animal Rescue Site are providing enrichment and critical medical supplies to assist the shelters and the sheltered pets of Hawaiʻi.


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