For The Love Of All Of Kaua‘i’s Animals

Laura Wiley, Kauai Humane society board president, with (from left) Priscilla, Honey Girl and Jet. Amanda Gregg photo

The Humane Society cares for about 7,000 animals every year, and it’s throwing a benefit party with Willie K to help fund its many services

It’s the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Garden Isle’s furriest of friends, and Kaua’i Humane Society board president Laura Wiley couldn’t be more excited about the May 7 benefit.

Wiley, who has three dogs and two cats, is passionate about animals, to say the least. The CPA by day knows what it’s like to be hands-on when it comes to helping animals.

“I did rescue work in my 20s,” Wiley says of the work she did while in Colorado, noting she’s been part of the KHS board for 18 years.

Wiley says the reason she’s inspired by KHS is its mission.

“It’s just devoted to helping all the animals on Kaua’i and the families that love them,” she says.

But it’s not just animals KHS helps.

“What I like to say is, ‘Yes, of course we are helping Kaua’i’s animals, but we’re really helping families, too.'”

Wiley says the Kaua’i community is made up of kind, loving and compassionate people who embrace pets as beloved family members.

She also says the shelter in Puhi (which she describes as far superior to the former shelter in Hanapepe) places animals in homes, reunites lost pets and rescues dogs, cats, horses, birds and other animals from abusive and neglectful situations.

“We’re definitely driven by the animals,” she says. “We try to find loving homes for as many pets as we can.”

The numbers are telling: KHS cares for approximately 7,000 animals each year. Of those, 54 percent are cats. The other 46 percent include dogs, birds, rabbits, turtles, horses and “others.”

KHS also performs approximately 2,900 sterilization surgeries each year.

State Rep. Derek Kawakami, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., former County Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro, County Councilman Tim Bynum and former County Councilwoman Lani Kawahara. Photo courtesy Carol Ann Davis

This is a crucial function, says Wiley, because “finding homes for animals is a constant challenge, as the most important issue facing the island’s pets is overpopulation.

“There simply aren’t enough homes for all of them,” she says.

“One unaltered dog or cat results in hundreds of litters. One cat breeds, the female has a litter of between five and 10 kittens, and those 10 kittens breed,” she explains. “They in turn have more and more litters. It never ends. We are able to find loving homes for approximately one-third of all the animals we shelter each year.”

KHS is taking the initiative to address the overpopulation problem by offering free spay and neuter services to income-qualified families. It also offers “free feline fix” days and spay/neuter discount coupons for area veterinary clinics.

The reason it’s able to do that is in part thanks to the fundraisers that help keep these initiatives going, Wiley says, noting that it doesn’t hurt that the events are “tons of fun.”

“We like to think of our annual fundraising gala bash every year as the best party on the island,” she says (noting her own bias). “We’ve done well in making it fun.”

KHS members come up with a different play-on-words theme every year. Previous years’ themes include Woofstock and Wagon Tails. This year’s theme is Hawaii Fide-0, a play on the hoopla surrounding the popular TV series Hawaii Five-0.

Willie K takes the stage May 7 at the Hawaii Fide-0 fundraiser for Kaua‘i Humane Society. Photo courtesy Laura Wiley

Fellow KHS board member Jeff Kennedy came up with the idea.

“Everyone is so nuts about Hawaii Five-0,” Wiley says. “It should be really fun. Everyone really has a blast at these events, and that’s our goal – to make it fun and to make it casual.”

Hawaii Fide-0 will be at the Kauai Marriott Resort, and entertainment will be provided by Maui boy Willie K and the Ware House Blues Band.

“(Willie K) is the highlight of the event,” she says. “He’s a tremendous friend of the humane society. He blows the roof off the grand ballroom.”

Though she won’t dish on the silent auction items, Wiley did say that event sponsors include Tire Warehouse, King Auto Center, Grove Farm, American Savings Bank, Kuhio Auto Group, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, McCloskey and Company, and Earthworks Pacific.

“We are very blessed,” she says of the donors.

Those who want to make a difference in an animal’s life but can’t make a monetary or gift donation can always volunteer, as KHS has many opportunities including dog walking, cat cuddling, administrative support and, of course, helping out at this year’s Hawaii Fide-0. To learn more, call volunteer coordinator Pam Woolway at 632-0610.

Hawaii Fide-O Kauai Humane Society fundraiser, Saturday, May 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Kaua’i Marriott Resort and Beach Club. For more information, go to kauaihumane.org/events.asp.

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