A substantial increase in the number of guinea pigs and rabbits has been received over the past four weeks by the Maui Humane Society. The non-profit organization reports that she “is unlike anything she’s seen before.”
The shelter has exceeded its capacity and temporary habitats have been built to cope with the unexpected increase, according to a press release from the organization.
“Owners email, call and arrive at the shelter with large numbers of animals wanting to surrender, sometimes through no fault of their own,” the organization reports.
On June 16, a total of 14 guinea pigs were donated to the Maui Humane Society by a family who tragically lost everything in their home to a fire.
“The family were responsible pet owners, segregating the guinea pigs by sex and had no intention of abandoning them, until they lost everything,” according to the Maui Humane Society, which reports the animals received special medical attention due to smoke inhalation.
A transfer partner on the island, Leilani Farm Sanctuary, took some on to help with overcapacity, while others became available for adoption.
Additionally, the Maui Humane Society has received several rabbit abandonments, up to 30 from a single household.
“To complicate matters, the first case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) in Hawaii was confirmed at a farm in Maui on June 17,” according to MHS.
The United States Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture have confirmed RHDV2 in a 4-5 year old neutered male rabbit at a farm in Kula. “The Maui Humane Society immediately put measures in place to ensure the safety of the rabbit population at the shelter. Since July 1, all eligible rabbits have received their first dose of vaccine,” the organization reports.
The Maui Humane Society is offering a free public vaccination clinic for rabbits on July 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Maui Humane Society. Maui Humane Society urges all rabbit owners to take advantage of the free clinic by scheduling an appointment on their website to ensure their rabbit(s) are vaccinated and safe.
“Vaccination could save your rabbit’s life,” said medical director Dr. Laurie Gaines. “This highly contagious and deadly disease could be catastrophic for Maui’s rabbit population. Please protect your rabbits.
The RHDV2 vaccine series is in two parts (21 days apart). The second dose of the vaccine will be distributed in a similar fashion on August 13. Knowing that rabbits are often housebound, those who need a carrier for their rabbit can book a free transfer carrier to be picked up July 15 or 16 from Maui Humane Society. For more information about RHDV2 and the vaccination clinic, visit https://www.mauihumanesociety.org/somebunnytolove.
With the increase in the consumption of guinea pigs and rabbits, the Maui Humane Society is looking for adopters in the community.
“Guinea pigs and rabbits make great pets for apartments or small homes because they require less space,” according to the organization. “Plus, they’re great for new pet owners or families with kids.”
All rabbits and guinea pigs have a $0 adoption fee. Visit mauihumanesociety.org to see all animals available for adoption.
If you are looking to return your pet, the Maui Humane Society also has resources. For individuals or families experiencing financial hardship or relocation, but who wish to keep their pet(s), 4EverPets is available to help owners and pets stay together. All animal deliveries (stray or returned by their owner) are by appointment only.
Please call 808-877-3680 ext. 3 during opening hours to be scheduled.