Animal Control Services

Hawaiʻi County assumed responsibility of animal control services on July 1, 2021, at the beginning of the current fiscal year, after the contract with Hawai‘i Rainbow Rangers ended on June 30. Within the County, the responsibilities of Animal Control Services currently fall under the Police Department.

While the Hawai‘i County Code allows contracting of Animal Control Services, the County has undertaken an Animal Control Services pilot project, expected to last for at least two years. During this time, the County will house and perform Animal Control Services. Towards conclusion of the pilot project, the County will decide whether to contract any future Animal Control Services.

Animal Control Facilities

HPD has contracted an Animal Control Director, Animal Control Officers, and shelter staff who are strategically based on both the westside and eastside of the island. Under HPD supervision, Animal Control Services currently lease a shelter facility in east Hawai‘i and maintains use of a County-owned facility in west Hawai‘i with kennel staff caring and feeding the animals.

Plans are underway to make significant improvements to the Kona shelter, which is in need of repairs. Additionally, the County is exploring options to purchase a permanent shelter facility in east Hawai‘i in addition to the current leased facility. Neither facility is open to the public at this time.

As has been the existing policy, Animal Control services holds animals under their care for a minimum period of 48 hours and then transfers animals to the one of several animal welfare non-profit organizations around the island where the animals can be fostered and adopted. While the minimum hold period is 48 hours, between July and December 2021, the average length of stay in shelter per animal has been 45 days.

Priority 1, 2, and 3 Calls

Calls received regarding Animal Control services are categorized as Priority One, Two, or Three. Animal Control staff continue to respond to Priority One calls 24 hours a day island-wide. Since July 1, 2021, Animal Control staff have responded to 30-50 calls a day, of which, an average of 20 of those calls require an immediate response. Priority One calls include those for injured animals, any animal that is a public safety risk, animal cruelty, and situations in which an animal’s owner has been arrested or died with no family to pick up the pet. Police ask that the public call police dispatch at (808) 935-3311 for Priority One, or emergency requests for assistance.

For Priority Two calls, those pertaining to lost or found pets and non-emergency issues, the public should call Animal Control staff at (808) 327-3558 or email at hpdanimalcontrol@hawaiicounty.gov. When leaving a message, please leave your name clearly, and repeat your contact information so that staff may contact you promptly. Staff answer the phones and return calls during normal business hours.

Priority Three calls pertain to deceased animals on the roadway. If people come across a deceased animal on a county road please call the Department of Public Works Highways Division at (808) 961-8349. If the deceased animal is on a state Highway or road, please call the State Department of Transportation Highways Division at (808) 933-8866.

Actions You Can Take if You Find a Stray Animal or Lose a Pet

  • People who find healthy stray animals are encouraged to have the animal scanned for a microchip by a County of Hawai‘i Animal Control Officer (call (808) 327-3558), at a veterinarian’s office, or by a local rescue group. HPD has provided guidance to veterinarian offices on island about protocols regarding lost and found healthy animals. If a found animal is microchipped, veterinarians can try to find its owner by searching for microchip on www.found.org.
  • People who find a healthy stray animal or who lose a pet are encouraged to post it as lost / found on https://lost.petcolove.org. Petco Love Lost is a new, searchable national database that uses patented facial recognition technology to make finding lost pets quicker and easier. This simple-to-use tool will be easily accessible to participating animal organizations nationwide, as well as any pet parent or person who finds a lost pet. Uploaded photos of a missing dog or cat are immediately scanned to determine whether the lost pet is at a participating shelter or with a neighbor in the community. There are a handful of organizations across the island using this technology, including County of Hawai‘i Animal Control Services. The technology scans photos at the shelters every two hours to reunite lost pets and their owners as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If someone finds a healthy stray animal, they can contact Animal Control Services at (808) 327-3558. Shelter capacity is still limited and averages 135 animals per day. However, County Animal Control has, and continues to, admit healthy strays as their capacity for care allows.

What to Do About Noisy Dogs?

Dog Licensing

Dog licensing is being managed by the County Finance Department, Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division. Starting September 8, 2021, dog owners can download the dog license application on the County website, www.hawaiicounty.gov, under the Finance Department. Dog owners can mail the form, including the owner’s name, mailing address, and dog’s microchip number, along with license fee, to the Department of Finance, Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division, 101 Pauahi St, Suite 5, Hilo, HI, 96720. Dog license applications are only being processed by mail. Dog license fees have not increased and remain $2.10 for sterilized dogs and $6.10 for unsterilized. Those with questions about dog licensing can call the Department of Finance at (808) 961-8413.

Monthly shelter activity reports were previously provided by the Hawaiʻi Rainbow Rangers and Hawaiʻi Island Humane Society. Links to the reports can be found below. Future reports will be posted as they are received. For additional information, you may contact Hawaiʻi County Animal Control at (808) 327-3558.

New Microchip Law for Pets

Act 5, a new statewide microchip law, went into effect Jan. 1, 2022, after it was passed during a 2021 Special Session of the legislature. The new law:

  • Requires dog and cat owners to have microchip identification implanted in their dogs and cats, and to register the microchip number and the owner’s contact information with a microchip registration company. The national registry www.foundanimals.org is a good site to register your pet’s microchip.
  • Requires animal organizations to implant a microchip in all stray dogs and cats in their custody that do not have microchip identification.

Spay/Neuter Services

Recognizing that pet overpopulation is a substantial issue on Hawai’i Island, County Animal Control Services ensures that those animals that are transferred to our partner agencies are spayed and neutered before they are available for foster or adoption.

Animal Control is Hiring

Under the direction of HPD, Animal Control is currently seeking experienced kennel techs and Animal Control Officers in both east and west Hawai‘i. Recruitments for these contract positions will be forthcoming via the County Website under Job Opportunities for interested person(s) to apply. In the interim, those interested in applying for positions may submit a resume to HPDAnimalControl@hawaiicounty.gov.

Shelter Animal Reports

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