Groups team up to stop pet overpopulation at Waianae encampment

Groups team up to stop pet overpopulation at Waianae encampment

There is a new push to reduce the number of unwanted animals on Oahu and stop the spread of infections by reaching out to homeless people with pets. Different groups are joining forces to use veterinary medicine as a way to tackle public health issues.

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The team's first big project is at Puuhonua o Waianae, the homeless encampment next to the Waianae Small Boat Harbor. Organizers counted 143 dogs that have not been sterilized, along with dozens of cats.

"A lot of times, when people get into their home or they finally get Section 8, they are told that their dogs cannot go," said Twinkle Borge, the leader of Puuhonua o Waianae. "So we end up taking care of them, feeding them."

After finding out about six pregnant dogs at the village, the rescue group PAWS of Hawaii wanted to find a way to stop the influx of animals. Most of the canines brought to the non-profit group are from homeless camps.

"They don't have the transportation to take their dogs in to a veterinary clinic. They don't have the means to provide the vaccines and microchip and we know that they love their dogs and they want this care for their dogs," said Kuulei Durand, executive director of PAWS of Hawaii.

PAWS of Hawaii reached out to its veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Dowdall-Garberson, who helped organize a recent assessment. They plan to create a temporary spay/neuter clinic at the camp for the dogs.

"We're truly coming together as a collaborative effort to pool our resources and maximize our strengths to be able to really do something impactful in the community," said Dowdall-Garberson, owner of Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services.

The cats will be sterilized at the Cat Friends facility and then returned.

"We would like to prevent problems. It's very important that the cats are all spayed and neutered, (it) helps them to live happier, healthier lives," said Cindy Keiki, co-founder of Aloha Kitty TNR.

Even with reduced rate sterilizations through the city's Neuter Now program, a major challenge will be raising funds to provide the free care, including vaccinations, deworming and microchipping. Click here for details.

The team will head to the camp at the end of the month for initial exams and preventative services, before returning in August for the spay/neuter clinic.

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