400 animals brought from Lahaina to Maui Humane Society, 100+ reunited with ʻohana

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PC: Maui Humane Society

Maui Humane Society has brought back more than 400 animals from Lahaina to the shelter since crews were granted restricted access on Aug. 26. That was 18 days after the destructive wildfire swept through Lahaina. 

Today, the organization reports more than 200 of those animals are in the shelter’s care, and more than 100 have been reunited with their ʻohana.

“Sadly, many pets did not make it. We have been able to find owners through microchip scans to provide some closure. Our hearts are with those who are experiencing this grief and loss,” representatives with Maui Humane Society said.


Maui Humane Society’s coordinated efforts have involved teams of experts from across the nation and beyond including 41 veterinarians, dozens of vet techs, and over 1,000 volunteers.

PC: Maui Humane Society

Specialized services includes help from: Eric Thompon of Animal Search And Rescue (ASAR)/Animal Incident Management (AIM); John Peaveler of Veterinarians Without Borders; Trevor Skaggs of Shelterly; Greater Good Charities; ASPCA; San Diego Humane Society Disaster Response Team; Arizona Humane Society Disaster Response Team; Neighborhood Cats; Hawaiʻi County Animal Control & Protection Agency; HAKA; STAT Hawaiʻi; Joy Smith of FieldHaven Feline Center; Shannon Jay; and Humane Society of the United States.

Local animal rescue help has come from: Hawaiʻi Animal Rescue Foundation, Honi Honi Cats Maui, Kitty Charm Farm, Valley Isle Animal Rescue, and the East Maui Animal Refuge (Boo Boo Zoo).


What happens when pets get to the shelter?

  • Every animal with a microchip will have a person connected to that microchip and MHS will contact that person to reclaim their animal. This is for both friendly and feral animals.
  • Animals without a microchip/identification will be held for a 48-hour processing time that will allow staff to take photos, prepare paperwork and prep them for spay/neuter surgery.
  • Friendly cats remain in shelter care for 30 days before being available for adoption. These animals follow the shelter’s Lahaina Stray Hold Policy, allowing original owners to reclaim their pet up to 90 days.
  • Cats with unknown temperaments are placed in the shelter’s Cat ʻOhana Family Room 1 for at least 7-10 days to decompress. This allows the MHS assembled task force of cat experts and advocates to meet regularly and continue to evaluate behavior.

MHS Cat ʻOhana has two Family Rooms. Organization leaders say each family room is a large, communal cat room with indoor and secured outdoor sections that the cats can move freely between. These family rooms enable the task force to determine behavior.

“We are working on securing the use of a large commercial space to assist with the number and variety of cats in our care,” according to an organization newsletter. Details are in the works.


Maui Humane Society CEO, Lisa Labrecque, DVM, shared the challenges, obstacles, and ongoing efforts to provide help in the wake of Maui’s wildfire disaster in an open letter to the Maui community published last week HERE.

Paddle Out for Pets – Sept. 16

The Maui Humane Society hosts a paddle-out to honor the animals who were lost to the fires. The paddle out for pets event takes place on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m. at Olowalu beach. Guests are invited to bring a board or watch from the beach. Those in attendance can also bring loose flowers and petals to be scattered in the water.


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