Network forms to help lava evacuees take care of displaced pets, - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Network forms to help lava evacuees take care of displaced pets, livestock

Volunteers move animals that have been displaced by lava. (Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network) Volunteers move animals that have been displaced by lava. (Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network)
Candi Salazar feeds chickens that she is fostering for lava evacuees. (Candi Salazar) Candi Salazar feeds chickens that she is fostering for lava evacuees. (Candi Salazar)
Britton Cole cares for animals at University of Hawaii at Hilo's farm. (Britton Cole) Britton Cole cares for animals at University of Hawaii at Hilo's farm. (Britton Cole)
PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Candi Salazar’s farm has grown since eruptions started in lower Puna. She’s taken in over 160 animals.

Chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese have made their way onto her property after their owners had to flee their homes.

“When something like this happens, the community pulls together,” she said.

Salazar is part of a network that's formed to help lava evacuees’ pets and animals as their owners scramble to find housing themselves.

One resource that frantic pet owners have been turning to is the Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network Facebook group. The group has grown to over 3,400 members..

Alessandra Rupar-Weber wasn’t expecting the growth when she originally made it with a group of friends.

“I haven’t slept since,” she said. Now, her and a team of volunteers are coordinating the platform to get animal owners what they need. They have raised almost $14,000 through their GoFundMe, and they’re even working with nonprofits like the Hawaii Island Humane Society and local businesses.

Pigs, cows, goats, dogs and cats have found foster homes through the page.

Kathy Peters volunteered to take on eight pigs when she found out they needed a home. She’s never worked with pigs before. She said the pigs' home was overcome by lava and now they’re in need of a totally new owner.

“I’m glad so many people stepped up to the plate,” Peters said. After she started taking care of the animals, she’s received donations from people wanting to help.

The Hawaii Island Humane Society has received support from across the nation through their Amazon wish list.

“There are people asking left and right about what we need,” said Hawaii Island Humane Society volunteer Burgundy Singleton. She’s currently at the Pahoa emergency shelter helping out animal owners of evacuees.

“It looks like Christmas,” she said, referring to the shipment that came in Thursday night as a result of a national effort to get animals what they needed.

She added that the Hawaii Island Humane Society would be a good first step for evacuees in need of help.

The farm at University at Hawaii at Hilo also has some new additions. Their stable has 17 new horses, a foul and one very admired miniature donkey named Bob-Bob.

“Some of the horses weren’t in the best shape,” said Britton Cole, the manager at the farm. He said the animals were under stress when they were evacuated, but has since began to get used to their new temporary home.

The trend of local businesses, organizations and volunteers helping with the so-called lava animals has continued at the university. Students are coming in on their days off, and donations have also came in.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Cole said, “that the community rallied together.”

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