This month the Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation (HARF) celebrates its first anniversary in the business of Maui animal welfare. The foundation is seeing success in the form of dog adoptions–specifically, the re-homing of 400 dogs in just their first year. Funds for the organization are coming from private individuals, corporations and grants, but as yet nothing from the county, state or federal governments.
HARF wants to start building a new no-kill, full-service animal shelter facility and is in the process of acquiring land. The shelter will include an adoption and education center, surgery center, a rescue and adoption facilities for large breeds like cows and horses and a community dog park.
Dawn Hall, HARF’s vice president and cofounder, found a moment to answer a few questions about how the foundation operates:
MAUITIME: Is this the anniversary of creating your shelter?
DAWN HALL: This is the anniversary of organizing the foundation. Even without a shelter we have successfully re-homed over 400 dogs this year. That helped to reduce the euthanasia rate on Maui by approximately 40 percent.
MT: Where is the dog shelter? How many dogs can the shelter house at a time?
HALL: We currently do not have a shelter location. We are in the process of looking for land and intend to build a facility. In the meantime, we work with a network of foster families to house and care for our dogs. Right now, we have approximately 67 dogs and hold weekend adoption events on Maui and Oahu. The number of dogs we can have at any one time depends on the number of foster families we have, i.e. room. We take as many as possible from the local shelter (they provide us a list each week) and receive animals directly from the community.
MT: Is there a HARF operating on Oahu? Are you sister organizations or the same?
HALL: Oahu has an adoption center on the Kapolei side of the island and functions much like the Maui group. We are all one and the same.
MT: How many foster families do you have for the dogs?
HALL: It varies from 10-20 families at a time. Plus we work with a few boarding kennels that help us out in a pinch. We are always looking for more fosters. The more help we have, the more dogs we can help.
MT: How do you plan to build a large full service shelter?
HALL: The eventual shelter build will be planned in stages with the largest priorities being built first. It will require a large capital campaign to raise the funds needed. Since our facility will include an adoption center, spay/neuter surgery center, education center, dog kennels, an area for large breed animals and a community dog park it is estimated that the build will run in between $3-4 million. This, of course, will be done over years. Right now, securing land is the priority.
MT: Tell me more about the day-to-day running of HARF. How does it differ from what SPCA Maui and 9th Life do?
HALL: We differ from the Maui SPCA in that their primary mission is spay/neuter. 9th Life solely accepts cats (not other animals) and is considered a sanctuary: animals come in and when they’re full, they are full. It is our belief that adoptions are only the tip of the iceberg and to create real change within the community you must aggressively pursue spay/neuter and education.
Standard sheltering methods are archaic and do little to solve animal issues. No-kill solutions and effective programs make a real difference over the long run. It is proven that euthanizing animals as a way of addressing pet overpopulation doesn’t work. Animal welfare models are changing and we intend to be the change in Hawaii.
MT: Do you know how many dogs are euthanized on Maui annually?
HALL: Per the County Data Book, MHS euthanized over 800 dogs last fiscal year–these are their numbers. Current numbers have not been reported yet for the fiscal year ending in July 2012.
MT: Is there anything else you can mention about HARF?
HALL: Check out our Facebook page! I think it will give you a real feel for our group and what we do. You are always welcome to come down and visit us at Petco on Saturdays from 10am-4pm, and starting in July we will also be at Whole Foods doing adoptions, too.
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HARF partners with the other animal welfare animal welfare groups on Maui to bring adoptable animals to their public adoptions on Saturdays at Petco in Kahului. HARF says 10 percent of the animals they receive are surrendered by their owners while the other 90 percent come from other organizations that are overcapacity.
For more information on HARF, call 808-876-0022.