This letter is to let all animal owners on Hawaii Island know that it is against the law and extremely inhumane to dump your animals, particularly cats when you no longer want or can afford them.
Obviously, you are aware that there are organizations that take care of abandoned cats here on the Big Island. So that is why you and so many others continue to dump your cats, feral and domestic. Let me begin by telling you that these volunteers you see feeding and trapping cats are not paid for their service. They pay for all food, gas and medical expenses out of their own pockets and spend what little free time they have trying to trap the cats that you have abandoned in their various colonies.
I have spent the last 25 years feeding and trapping at Hapuna Beach State Park, Beach 69 and Waikoloa Village. It was something I decided to do because it broke my heart to see so many abandoned, sick and starving cats. I’ve spent a lot of time, money and energy managing these cats. I do have a job, home and family to take care of but somehow manage to find the time to take care of these unwanted animals. I’d love to have more help, but everyone I ask for help is just too busy to spare a couple of hours a week.
A domestic cat dumped in a feral colony is basically given a death sentence. They have to fight for food and are often injured and suffer a slow and agonizing death. The tourists always ask me how people can throw away their cats and, basically, I tell them that they’re irresponsible and it’s easier than finding the cat a new home or taking them to the Humane Society.
Why did you dump the unneutered gray male cat with the smashed-in face at Hapuna Beach? The poor cat was obviously scared to death and screaming in pain. I tried to catch him, knowing that he was in really bad shape and wouldn’t last long. But so often with these cats, they’re terrified and unwilling to trust a stranger after being so horribly abused. Well, he wasn’t there today and I’m sure he’s dead after suffering a slow and agonizing death. Why didn’t you take him to the Humane Society and have him euthanized? That would have been the humane thing to do.
As far as feral and domestic cats go, there are many programs to get these animals spayed and neutered and it doesn’t cost you anything. If you want feral cats around your home and are willing to take care of them, call one of these organizations and get your cats sterilized — call AdvoCats Inc., KARES, Catsnip on the west side of the island. Call Hui Pono Holoholona or Rainbow Friends on the east side of the island. The Humane Society also offers low-cost spay and neuter coupons. There is no excuse not to get your animals — cats and dogs — sterilized, especially when approximately 10,000 animals are euthanized on this island every year. That’s a whole lot of unwanted puppies, kittens, cats and dogs that should have never been born if only you would had sterilized your animals.
If you’ve got feral cats and don’t want them around, take them to the Humane Society. If you have domestic pets that you no longer want or cannot take care of try and find them a new home or take them to the Humane Society. Stop dumping your unwanted animals in our beach parks, shopping centers, neighborhoods and all the other places at which these cats appear. It’s just totally wrong and really inhumane.
It’s a hard and difficult job being an animal volunteer and you’re being totally irresponsible and selfish by dumping your animal problem on these volunteers. Once again, it is illegal and inhumane what you are doing. Animals have feelings and basic needs, too. We volunteers will not be around forever to clean up your mess, so instead of making it worse, do the right thing for your animals. If you’re not totally committed to providing a good and permanent home to your pet, then don’t get one, it’s that simple.
F. Kolons is a resident of Waikoloa.
Viewpoint articles are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily the opinion of the paper.