The War on Cats: Hawaii Edition

You don’t have to be nationally recognized as a feline behavior expert to know that if you box up a cat, take him to a pet killing facility and leave him surrounded by the smells and sounds of despair and death, the cat is not going to be in the mood to play tea party.  Any cat owner could tell you this.  So one would think that people working in an animal shelter would know this fo shizzle.  And yet DOT DOT DOT.

A good Samaritan named Alexis Boyett took in a stray cat, named her Pesh, fed, tamed, played with and loved her for six months and had her spayed.  When Ms. Boyett felt Pesh was ready for a permanent home, she called the Hawaii Island Humane Society in Keaau to inquire about surrendering a cat for adoption. She felt reassured after speaking with shelter staff and made the very difficult decision to take Pesh to the shelter so she could get the permanent home she deserved.

Ms. Boyett says she made it “very clear” to shelter staff that there was no way she wanted Pesh to be killed. If killing became a consideration, she told them to call her and she would pick Pesh up. She tearfully said goodbye, leaving Pesh’s favorite toys with her, believing Pesh would be sheltered.

Shortly after Ms. Boyett left, staff at the Hawaii Island Humane Society killed Pesh. No one bothered to call Ms. Boyett. In fact, it was she who called the shelter the next day to find out how Pesh was doing only to find out the cat was dead. She was given no reason for the killing. Then the local paper got involved:

In a statement to the Tribune-Herald, HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker said Pesh’s “behavior did not meet socialization standards.”

HIHS evaluates and tests arriving animals “as soon as possible,” Whitaker said in the statement, and feral cats and “cats that are not socialized” are euthanized “as soon as practicable,” contingent on staff availability.

So basically, despite all standards of care and common sense, the Hawaii Island Humane Society forces newly impounded, scared cats out of their cages as soon as a cat death sentencer becomes available, requires the cats to play tea party and when they don’t, kills them as soon as a cat killer becomes available.  And going by the stats, a cat killer seems to be available pretty regularly:

Statistics show HIHS, an open-admission shelter that accepts all animals regardless of breed, age or other factors, euthanized about 80 percent of its 6,568 cats in 2015.


[A]t least 75 percent were feral or “unhealthy,” the society reports[.]

Like Pesh, I guess.

The Hawaii Island Humane Society holds a nearly $2 million AC contract with the county.  That contract reportedly does not specify any holding period.  So it’s a pretty sweet get cat/deem feral/kill/collect $2 million scam they got going there.  I wonder how the local taxpayers enjoy being defrauded by this “humane society”.

Speaking of which, the newspaper reached out to Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the major players trying to reduce/eliminate holding periods for shelter cats nationwide:

She thinks Boyett’s incident could be a learning opportunity and a chance to make changes.

“We need public trust and confidence in the local shelters,” Gibson said. “So we encourage shelters to always be evaluating and reevaluating their policy or protocols. Regardless of the details, should something have been done different to prevent this?

Just to be clear, the “details” of this case, which Gibson so readily dismisses, involve the needless killing of a loved cat who had a safe place to go. But yeah, let’s have a beer summit and discuss whether something should have been done differently. Because I mean, the place is killing 80% of its cats as quickly as they can get them from the front door to the kill room so you know, it’s a head-scratcher.

And while yammering rhetorical, Gibson takes time to spank the good Samaritan:

And Boyett relinquished her legal rights to Pesh when she surrendered her, Gibson said.

“It’s standard practice. When someone surrenders, they won’t be contacted,” she said. “That’s why (surrendering) is a pretty serious decision.”

Yeah I hate the way that lady took in a stray cat even though she couldn’t keep her long term, got her spayed, took care of her and taught her that human beings are nice then flippantly made a call to the shelter to verify the cat would be put up for adoption, packed up her toys and brought her to a place she thought was a safe haven so she could find a permanent home. Only a terribly insincere person would do all those things.  Thanks for pointing that out, HSUS.

(Thanks Anne for posting this link in the Open Thread.)

14 thoughts on “The War on Cats: Hawaii Edition

  1. No, by and large we do NOT need “public confidence and confidence in the local shelters” but skepticism and extreme reluctance to turn over an animal to them unless absolutely necessary. False promises abound in the animal control/shelter world.

  2. Cats like Pesh are killed every day by so called “shelters” and “humane” organizations. They simply because there are so many cats, you know. My own cats, much loved and cared for, would be dead if they somehow ended up in one of those kill facilities. They are shy and probably would be considered “unadoptable”. Hawaii doesn’t have much love for cats and, if I understand correctly, is out to do a mass killing of ferals. Trust and confidence are earned!!! RIP Pesh and my condolences to the woman who loved her.

  3. This is why I hate shelters! And they should not be called shelters!!!! They are NOT shelters!!!! I would have lost it if that cat were mine. I wonder what kind of people work in these places esp the ones who kill God’s babies!!!! It’s true that these kill places expect these animals brought in to act normal when they are not safe, sense the smell of death and unfriendliness, no compassion or love. That sweet cat should have stayed where she was! But you hope and pray you’re doing the right thing. Please don’t ever trust the shelters!!!

  4. It would be very interesting to know precisely what reassurances Ms. Boyette was given that led her to overcome her anxiety about relinquishing Pesh. False promises are a vulnerable area to focus on in educating the public about dealing with animal control and shelters.

  5. Here in California if you turn an animal in to a shelter, they ask you to sign a release of all rights of ownership or claim, so that they can go ahead and kill the pet right away. There is ho holding period when an animal is an “owner turn-in” like this one was. She is a BAAAAD owner for turning in her pet to a shelter, and there is no way they will give her that pet back. It’s much kinder to kill the cat.
    I have had a couple of friends who had the same experience. One turned in a dog when she had to move, but regretted it immediately on the way home, turned the car around and went to go get her dog back. They refused and told her, the dog was not her property any more. She found out that they killed him the same day. Despite knowing she wanted him back.
    They LOVE to kill at animal shelters. That’ll teach an important lesson to the any stupid people who are SO irresponsible! It’s ALL THEIR FAULT. The “Shelter” is FORCED to kill because of you and me. Everyone knows that.

    1. Sometimes there are situations that cannot be avoided and the animals need to be surrendered. It is the choice of the facility what they do from that point on. This place made the choice to kill the cat (and hundreds of others, clearly). It is not a shelter, it is a killing facility. There are true “shelters” who provide the best care for the animals in their care and find them homes or rescues or sanctuaries, other than body bags. I am very bothered that you blame those who give up their pets for the decisions the facilities make. No, they are not forced to kill. They choose to kill.

  6. And what was Ms. Boyette told that led her to believe that she could trust the shelter to do the right thing by Pesh? I can only point to cases I know personally when people with multiple but well cared for animals were coerced/induced to sign them over by such statements as :”Give them to us — we’ll take care of them” and (my favorite) “The only way they will be safe is if you sign them over.” She wasn’t coerced but it sure sounds as if she was misled about the cat’s prospects.

    1. Most likely. It sounds as if she would have taken the cat home if they had told her they would kill her.

  7. And once again they seem to imagine the problem is a pr one, rather than an ethical one.
    It seems endemic in our society,a business does something horrible, lies, gets caught and hires more pr people. Perception is not the problem, I’m not sure how to get this through their heads.
    Can’t remember who said it’s hard to make someone understand something when they get a whole lot of money for not understanding.

  8. There should not be any kill shelters at all these animals have a right to live and no one has a right to kill the poor little animals. I wish I could take them all in aND protect and love them all you mean people will pay and you can set that down in your book and I can’t wait for you to

  9. I actually called Inga Gibson once years ago – actually spoke with her. Locally, there were problems with people having dogs fighting for profit (all so hush hush) even before Michael Vick. Inga brushed me off – told me to stay out of it and let the professionals deal with it.

    Then some years later I heard Nathan Winograd speak in Seattle (with PETA protesters out front) And of course Vick got busted. After I heard Mr. Winograd and read Redemption – then I started to understand – HSUS and all the killers have more power and money than the innocent animals and I’ll never understand HSUS and all the killers cold, cold hearts –

    But sometimes – things change.

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