New vendor taking over animal control contract

A new animal control vendor was selected for Hawaii County.

Starting on Saturday, Hawaii Rainbow Rangers — a branch of Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary — will assume the animal control responsibilities previously conducted by Hawaii Island Humane Society.

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The total contract amount, according to the county’s notice of award posted July 24, is for approximately $1.59 million, several hundred thousand less than the county paid to the humane society.

Animal control services include issuing dog licenses and county-funded spay and neuter coupons, removal of deceased animals on public property, intake of stray or trapped animals, providing monthly spay and neuter clinics and responding to calls for strays, dangerous animals and loose livestock.

The humane society’s current location at 74-5225 Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona will shift to the control of Hawaii Rainbow Rangers and be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the interim, no animal drop boxes/cages will be provided.

The Hawaii Police Department said it will assist in the transition through Oct. 31, handling animal cruelty and related investigations. Hawaii Rainbow Rangers will take over full animal control responsibilities beginning Nov. 1, when the organization will have added two additional shelters under its operation, including one in East Hawaii.

Rumors circulating on social media raising concern about a potential mass euthanizing of animals in the transition from the Hawaii Island Humane Society to Hawaii Rainbow Rangers proved to be unsubstantiated.

HIHS is in the process of moving all the adoptable animals — most have already been moved — in its care from the Queen Kaahumanu Highway location to the new Animal Community Center in Keauhou Mauka, tentatively scheduled for a grand opening in September.

Animals under a county hold and still required by law to remain in the care of animal control are being transferred from the HIHS shelters in Waimea and Keaau to the Queen Kaahumanu location. Hawaii Rainbow Rangers will assume responsibility for these animals on Saturday.

“That notion that we were just going to euthanize everything and walk away is horrific,” said HIHS CEO Elizabeth Jose. “We don’t have any intentions of mass euthanizing.”

Hawaii Rainbow Rangers can be reached at 666-9589 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday for requests for services and complaints regarding animals from the public. Messages left on the answering machine will be responded to on the next business day, inclusive of those concerning lost pets.

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For after-hour emergencies, the public is advised to call the police nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Email Tom Linder at tlinder@westhawaiitoday.com.

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