The Hawaiian Humane Society is one step closer to getting a facility built in West Oahu.
A developer donated five acres of land in Ewa, but is the city willing to give the humane society more money to operate a second site?
The Hawaiian Humane Society and the city have been battling over money issues for the past couple of years.
Developer D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, which is building the controversial Hoopili development, donated the five acres of land along Fort Weaver Road.
The new facility would provide basic sheltering services for strays and lost animals, along with sterilization. A two-acre dog park is also planned.
The humane society would need to hire 25 more workers. KHON2 asked, will it ask the city for more money in order to do so?
“We’re hoping that the city will see the need for the growth in West Oahu and the service in West Oahu and come forward with support for that,” said Pamela Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society president and CEO.
Burns added that they still don’t know how much additional money it will take to operate a second facility.
The society currently has an operating budget of $7.5 million a year and gets $2.3 million from the city.
Burns says a study shows that it could cost an additional $650,000, but that study was done two years ago, so it will likely be more than that.
Honolulu City Council members told us that they’re willing to give the humane society more money, but they would want more details on how that money is spent.
The humane society has been criticized for charging a $30 fee to pick up stray animals, and some council members have raised questions about the organization spending its money wisely.
“Are you confident that they can be fiscally responsible?” KHON2 asked.
“Yeah, I think they can be fiscally responsible. This is hard-earned tax money so I want to make sure that every dollar that we are spending is something that’s necessary,” said councilman Trevor Ozawa.
The city administration negotiates the contract with the humane society.
In a statement, Sheri Kajiwara, director of customer services, said:
“The HHS’s new development in West Oahu does not affect their animal control contract with the city. They are still required to respond to dangerous animal calls under their existing contract. Assuming their contract is renewed when the facility is completed in about two years, having this facility would make it easier on them to fulfill that existing contract because they would have another base to respond from and a drop off point closer than Waialae.
“HHS has never expressed to the City that they need more money to build or operate this new site. The HHS did their own fundraising for the new site. Our understanding is that they met their fundraising goal of $18 million, which would cover the cost of renovations and land acquisition. However, they were able to get the entire 5-acre site donated, negating the cost of acquiring the property. The money left over from their fundraising campaign should be sufficient to build the new facility.”
The city adds that it was the humane society’s decision to build a second site, not the city’s so taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for it.