Woman protecting cats from being trapped when state seals up WWII - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Woman protecting cats from being trapped when state seals up WWII bunkers

Pam Potter Pam Potter
Laura Thielen Laura Thielen

By Grace Lee - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It started out as an issue of public safety. That's why the state wanted to seal up the entrances of the World War II bunkers at Sand Island Beach Park. But one woman worried that the improvements would come at the expense of the feral cats that now live inside the bunkers.

Pam Potter is not one to sit around. When she found out that the state planned to seal up the entrances to the bunkers she put up signs. Potter wanted to make sure that the cats were not sealed inside and left to die.

"If they know they're there, how could they do this?" said Potter.

Her concern peaked when she says her signs disappeared.

"One gentleman walked up to the sign, ripped it off the wall and said ‘seal them up mo better'. And I got really angry. I can't imagine anyone would wish a death like that on anything."

Angry enough to get the attention of Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Laura Thielen, who says they have absolutely no plans to seal the cats inside.

"What we decided is that the main goal is to keep people or kids from going in accidentally. So we're going to seal up the human size holes and live some small pukas so that the cats who are there can still get in and out" said Thielen.

This is just part of a multi-year state parks improvement program called the Recreational Renaissance. Funded by park fees, the state plans to repair or replace benches, picnic tables and improve the hiking paths.

As for the bunkers the state says construction will start Friday morning. Potter says she will be there to make sure Thielen doesn't back out on her word and that the cats will have their own access routes. Thielen says she has a personal stake in the fate of those kitties.

"As I mentioned my daughter volunteers at the Humane Society so I knew we had to resolve that issue or I wouldn't be allowed back in the house" said Thielen.

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