ASPCA Helps Hawaii Island Humane Society Airlift Animals Endangered by Kilauea Volcano Eruptions

ASPCA disaster response team provides assistance to conduct assessments and rescue displaced animals in Puna
June 15, 2018

Pahoa, Hawaii—At the request of the Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS), the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) deployed its disaster response team to conduct assessments of areas impacted by the Kilauea volcano eruptions, assist in managing the Disaster Pet Hotline for residents requesting assistance for their pets, and provide lifesaving field rescue for displaced animals. Yesterday, an animal search-and-rescue team – led by HIHS and the ASPCA - removed more than a dozen animals, including birds, sheep, cats and a dog, out of the Kapoho Beach Lots Subdivision in lower Puna. The animals, some airlifted by helicopter, were transported to the HIHS Keaau Shelter where they will receive care until they can be reunited with their families. Search-and-rescue efforts will continue through the weekend.

“These search-and-rescue efforts are absolutely critical to safely remove animals trapped in areas completely cut off by active lava fields and steep banks,” said Dick Green, senior director of ASPCA Disaster Response. “The ongoing and relentless destruction caused by the Kilauea volcano eruptions has put hundreds of animal lives at risk, and the ASPCA is pleased to be in a position where we can partner and assist the Hawaii Island Humane Society to save as many displaced animals as possible.”

“Hawaii Island Humane Society has deployed up to eight animal control officers each day when allowed access to search for animals and pets. We’ve gone door-to-door in the subdivisions in our search for animals at risk and continue to leave food and water for those animals not yet found and rescued. To date, Hawaii Island Humane Society rescued approximately 165+ animals with nearly all returned to owners and the remainder in foster homes. We’re grateful for the help that ASPCA is providing in these efforts,” said HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker.

To submit a rescue request for an animal or pet, residents should call HIHS at 808-498-9475. The animal and pet rescue hotline is able to receive calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering and placement of animals during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes and floods. In addition, they work closely with local agencies across the country to help enhance their animal

response capabilities through grants and training opportunities. In 2017, the ASPCA assisted more than 37,000 animals displaced by disaster situations including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the wildfires in Northern California. More information on the ASPCA’s disaster response efforts can be found at