When New Year's fireworks go off, keep an eye on Fido - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

When New Year's fireworks go off, keep an eye on Fido

File Image File Image
Pamela Burns Pamela Burns
Lanet Abrigo Lanet Abrigo
WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

This time of year, with fireworks going off around the island, the Hawaiian Humane Society always sees a big increase in lost dogs. 

"People don't ever plan on their animals getting lost, but every year there is always a spike, and it's always so scary for the owners and the animals," said Pamela Burns, president of the Hawaiian Humane Society.

That's what happened to one Oahu family on Christmas Day. Waialua resident Lanet Abrigo says her chihuahua escaped from a kennel in the family's fenced-in yard after being started by illegal aerials set off in the neighborhood.

The 15-year-old dog, "Chopper," was found on the side of a road the next day with a large dog bite.

"We had three other neighbors who had their dogs run off that night because the fireworks were so bad," Abrigo said, whose dog is now recuperating at VCA Waipahu Animal Hospital. "When people are blowing fireworks off on random days and you don't know, you have no way to prepare."

"He's still in critical condition. They don't want to say that he's going to make it, but every time we see him, he looks better, so we're holding on to that." (The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the dog's medical costs.)

The good news is that this year, there will be more robust services available to get lost dogs back to their owners.

Under its latest contract with the city, Hawaiian Humane Society is getting $3.1 million, an increase of $800,000, to fund six additional investigators and restore services eliminated in 2013.

"There will be fewer stray dogs roaming around," Burns said. "We'll be responding to barking dogs, 24-hour calls for emergencies and dispatch of animals that need to be rescued, so for the people and animals, it's just a great day."

Sherilyn Kajiwara, director of the city Department of Customer Services, said services had been reduced because of funding issues. 

"This year we are happy that we have found some additional funding with the help of City Council,"she said. 

The city's contract with the nonprofit runs through July 2018. The agreement includes a 5-percent increase in each of the next two fiscal years if city funding is available.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly