What’s Happening to the Animals Displaced by the Maui Wildfires?

We look into what’s been going on with the search for lost pets, the strays sent to the U.S. mainland and ways to help.


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This story is part of our HONOLULU series, “We Have Questions,” with our editorial team tackling questions being asked in the aftermath of the recent Maui fires.





Maui Humane Society van driving in fire zone

Photo: Courtesy of Maui Humane Society


Who’s Handling What?

According to the County of Maui, the Maui Humane Society is the main emergency shelter on-island and the go-to if pets require emergency assistance, placement or need to be taken off-island. There are, however, many national and smaller local organizations (detailed below) working independently and in concert with MHS to support recovery efforts.


Lost Pets

The Maui Humane Society estimates that 3,000 animals have been displaced by the wildfires. As of Aug. 22, the organization reported that over 1,300 lost pet reports were being processed through its platform and hotline.


People can file missing pet reports online or call MHS’s File A Pet hotline at (808) 877-3680, ext. 9. Those who have spotted an animal that can’t be contained can call the same hotline or file a found report online.


Hawaii Animal Kuleana Alliance Kitten man holding rescue kitten

A kitten rescued from the burn zone, Photo: Courtesy of the Hawai‘i Animal Kuleana Alliance


Searching for Animals in the Burn Zone

Emergency response operators have been instructed to report stray animal sightings to the Maui Country Emergency Operations Center, which then provides the info to Humane Society experts. And MHS has been working hand-in-hand with first responders to care for Maui animals found in the burn area and reunite them with their owners.


Prior to gaining access to the Lahaina burn zone, MHS conducted daily searches around its perimeter. Once it was granted permission to enter on Aug. 26, escorted by the National Guard, it did so in a coordinated effort with the Greater Good Charities trapping team and the Hawai‘i Animal Kuleana Alliance. Along with dogs and cats, rescuers have also been finding pigs, goats, chickens, parrots and tortoises, a HAKA representative tells us.


MHS has gone back every day since to continue search and rescue operations. “In addition, trapping teams are spending nights trapping and rescuing animals from within the restricted zone,” says an MHS representative. “These teams continue to find and rescue animals daily.”


Maui Humane Society 5 Credit Maui Humane Society

A rescued cat and owner reunited. Photo: Courtesy of Maui Humane Society


Making Room

According to the Hawaiian Humane Society, all of Hawai‘i’s shelters were already overcapacity before the wildfires. To create space for the immense influx, MHS transferred roughly 130 Maui animals, which were in its care prior to the fires, to Oregon and California shelters. Those shelters include the Oregon Humane Society, Berkeley Humane, the Marin Humane Animal Rescue Foundation, East Bay SPCA, Fremont Animal Services and the Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter.


Hawai‘i-based nonprofit Good Cat Network and Honi Honi Cats Maui together sent 35 cats, also in their care prior to the fires, to Seattle Humane and the NOAH Center in Stanwood, Washington. The Hawai‘i Animal Rescue Foundation has similarly sent animals to San Diego’s Helen Woodward Animal Center, and the Lucky Paws Animal Foundation in Honolulu has received 20-plus Maui cats.


SEE ALSO: Maui Wildfires: How to Support Our Maui Neighbors From O‘ahu


Maui Humane Society worker caring for cat

Photo: Courtesy of Maui Humane Society


Emergency Care

MHS has said it’s expecting an inundation of hundreds of animals that have been burned or injured or need critical care due to smoke inhalation. As of Aug. 22, it has taken in 187 animals from Lahaina, 30% of which have been reunited with their families.


It has also been teaming up with local rescues, including the Lahaina Veterinary Clinic, Kīhei Veterinary Clinic and West Maui Animal Clinic to set up mobile veterinary clinics. It currently hosts a daily clinic, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Ka‘anapali—starting Sept. 5, this will become a weekly clinic with operating times dependent on the availability of visiting veterinarians.


Providing Pet Food and Supplies

The Maui Humane Society is offering pet food and supplies to those who need it every day of the week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at its shelter in Pu‘unēnē, as well as at the following locations:

  • Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – 200 Nohea Kai Dr, Lahaina
  • Honokōwai Beach Park – Lahaina
  • Kihei Community Center – 303 E Lipoa St, Kihei
  • Moose McGillicuddy’s – 2511 S Kihei Rd, Kihei
  • Oskie Rice Arena – Olinda Rd, Makawao
  • Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center – 91 Pukalani St, Makawao
  • Upcountry Strong – Pukalani Terrance Center, 55 Pukalani St, Unit B-7, Makawao


As of Aug. 22, it had distributed 17,000 pounds of pet food and supplies to emergency shelters, distribution checkpoints, parks, churches, hotels, and individuals in need. And its services include daily visits to evacuation shelters to make sure needs are met there.


Maui Humane Society pet food and supplies center

Photo: Courtesy of Maui Humane Society


Boarding, Sheltering and Fostering Support

To board a displaced pet, the Maui Humane Society suggests contacting the Hawai‘i Animal Rescue Foundation, a no-kill animal rescue center in Wailuku that is offering to board displaced pets for free, at (808) 866-8249. The organization “has been housing and caring for up to 100 animals per day at its facility in Waihe‘e,” an MHS representative informs us.


For temporary assistance with sheltering pets, the County of Maui also suggests reaching out to online pet placement platform Home to Home or the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Animal Incident Management Initiative, both of which are assisting with placements. Home to Home is also offering temporary foster care for all animals.


Fostering an Animal

Maui residents looking to foster can check for opportunities with the following organizations:


Maui Humane Society dog with bandages

Photo: Courtesy of Maui Humane Society


Fostering Opportunities on O‘ahu

The Maui Humane Society is currently working within its on-island foster network, which it says is extensive and will be utilized first if foster homes are needed for displaced animals. As far as we know, it has yet to make any announcements about potential fostering opportunities for O‘ahu residents.



Maui residents can keep an eye on the Maui Humane Society’s Instagram and Facebook accounts for volunteer opportunities. On Aug. 23, it put out a video request for help with unpacking, sorting, organizing and distributing donated supplies at its Pu‘ulei shelter from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. No experience is necessary. Families and groups are welcome.


On O‘ahu, the Hawaiian Humane Society informed us that its volunteer department is currently fully staffed, but residents can follow its Instagram and Facebook accounts for news of any Maui-related, O‘ahu-based opportunities that may arise in the future.


Ways to Donate

Monetary donations are one of the most efficient ways to help, as they allow organizations to access more quickly what they need in a constantly changing environment without straining resources.


The Maui Humane Society is accepting the following:


SEE ALSO: Benefit Events, Concerts and Fundraisers for Maui Wildfire Relief