Parking Garages May Become Emergency Pet Shelters - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Parking Garages May Become Emergency Pet Shelters

Kawehi Yim Kawehi Yim
Ed Teixeira Ed Teixeira
Ali Sek Ali Sek

By Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - The threat of Hurricane Flossie put the Hawaiian Islands on alert.

And one lessons learned from this close call is the need for designated pet friendly shelters.

Under new federal and state laws, officials must plan for pet evacuations, but lawmakers didn't set a deadline.

There is just simply not enough room for people and pets at Oahu shelters. Now officials may turn parking garages into pet shelters in the event of an emergency.

The Hawaiian Humane Society's Kawehi Yim complains, "The fact we don't have these shelters designated yet as pet friendly shelters is of great concern to us because more than likely people will not abandon their pets. "

There are an estimated 500-thousand pets on Oahu and not enough shelters to house people and pets.

Ed Teixeira with State Civil Defense explains, "It is a work in progress, I feel very upbeat about it I wish we could work fast enough but it's a very complex situation."

The State needs to resolve Issues like who will clean up after the pets, and where to house half a million pets. "We really got to be thinking not only public resources private resources," says Teixeira.

Civil defense officials favor turning parking garages into shelters by installing weatherproof material to protect those inside. Their first choice is the Stan Sheriff Center at a cost of half a million dollars.

Ali Sek wants officials to decide on pet shelters so he can protect his new puppy "Keola", "They should get some shelters set up for that because especially here in Hawaii bound to get hit with hurricanes and other tropical storms."

Sek concludes, "He's coming with me wherever I go he's coming with me."

State officials also encourage homeowners to make their own pet safe rooms using hurricane retrofit grant money. For more information apply with the state's Hawaii Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund.

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