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Maui Humane Society adjusts to county budget cuts

By Staff | Jul 8, 2010

PUUNENE — Maui Humane Society last week announced it will alter some programs and services as a result of county budget cuts.

The private nonprofit organization is contracted by the County of Maui to provide certain services for the community relating to animal management for Maui.

Maui Humane Society (MHS) also provides other services, including adoption, education and spay/neuter programs funded through non-county revenues, such as earned income, private donations, grants and fund-raising programs and events. 

“Deciding what services to eliminate or reduce has been a very difficult decision for us,” noted Maui Humane Society CEO Jocelyn Bouchard, “but with an estimated budget cut of almost $160,000 from the county contract for the coming fiscal year — in addition to a cut of over $190,000 the year prior — we simply cannot support our current level of services. We want to maintain the programs and services that are most essential to the care and protection of live pet animals, and so we will be cutting back in other areas.”

Bouchard said internal cost-saving measures are being taken — such as reduction of staff hours — but some services must be eliminated to make up the shortfall in the budget.

“These are, for the most part, extra services that we have taken on over the years to assist the community, but they are not technically our responsibility and could be handled by other agencies,” she explained.

Effective July 1, MHS no longer provides on-call services (after hours “emergency” assistance). Calls should be directed to Maui Police Department. 

MHS will no longer respond to calls related to wildlife; these calls should be referred to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Other calls from the public will be prioritized based on imminent danger to the animals and/or people involved.

Requests for such services as deceased animal pickup in public areas — a service handled in many other communities by highways workers — will be given lower priority than live animal issues.

The Maui Humane Society animal shelter and adoption center in Puunene will continue to operate seven days a week, and the organization will continue to accept injured wildlife from the public.

“We ask for the community’s understanding in this matter,” said Bouchard. “We will still be fulfilling our contractual obligations for the county and serving the community in every possible way. And we are working hard to maintain the programs and services that are most instrumental in saving and protecting the lives of animals.”

For more information, call 877-3680 or visit www.mauihumanesociety.org.