FOX 12′s Debra Gil reports from Maui: Volunteers search through Lahaina ashes for lost, injured pets

Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 10:44 PM PDT
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MAUI COUNTY Hawaii (KPTV) - FOX 12′s Debra Gil is in Hawaii to cover the fires and aftermath. Watch for her reports all week.

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Along with the thousands of people who need help after the Maui wildfires, there are numerous pets as well.

Emergency responders with the Maui Humane Society are in the fire zone in Lahaina to find and gather as many wounded injured and stray pets that they can. They’re also trying to prepare for what they believe will be a huge influx of pets.

Lisa Labrecque, CEO of the Maui Humane Society, says they first emptied the shelter of pets by placing them in foster homes, to make room for the animals from the fire zone.

SEE ALSO: Death toll in Hawaii rises to 93 as recovery crews search burned-out homes, businesses

“We have already started receiving animals from the burn zones,” Labrecque said. “Lost, abandoned, injured, scared animals that need a place to stay.”

Labrecque said they have brought in cats, dogs, a pot-bellied pig, some lovebirds and lots of chickens.

“This is Hawaii,” Labrecque said. “And I even heard some reports about a couple of tortoises.”

Their veterinarians and vet techs are caring for the injured animals.

“We’re finding a lot of dehydrated animals, injured animals, burned animals,” Labrecque said.

Since the fires began to ravage the westside of the island, many people began showing up with donated supplies.

Volunteers responded to the call for help with bagging and sorting the supplies, food and crates to get out to the shelters. People with pets can keep their animals at the shelters, but they have to be kept outside, so many people at the shelters are in need of pet crates.

Nikki Russell, director community outreach, said they hope to give people who’ve lost everything hope.

“That human-animal bond is so important,” Russell said. “These humans have lost everything.”

The shelter is getting 300-plus calls a day of people searching for pets, as well as loved ones. Their goal is reunite as many pets as they can with their owners.

“This is a disaster,” Russell said. “This is unprecedented. This is nothing that we’ve seen before.”