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Benefit Concert Lends a Helping Paw

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

The island’s animals, treated by the Molokai Humane Society, will get a boost in funding this weekend, thanks to a helping wing from Mokulele Airlines. A benefit concert featuring Hawaii artist Anuhea will be held at Paddlers Inn on Friday night, and Molokai Humane Society (MoHS) Executive Director Hoala Davis said funds raised will support Humane Society operations.

“Our main goal has been to spay and neuter, and the majority of the funding would go to keeping the costs at $20 for cats and $30 for dogs,” she said. “Over the years, the rates have increased for surgical costs, and the Humane Society has not increased our rates at all.”

Because Molokai doesn’t have an animal shelter to house abandoned pets, Mokulele has jumped on board by assisting MoHS fly animals to Maui for adoption.

“At Mokulele Airlines we have a real soft spot for pets,” said Rob McKinney, president of Mokulele Airlines. “When we learned that the Molokai Humane Society needed a way to get pets into the arms of their new families on Maui, we jumped at the chance to help. We’re honored to be a part of the amazing work they do for the community.”

Davis said Mokulele recently changed their pet policy, offering all pets to travel free of charge, which will also benefit Molokai animals needing emergency care off island.

“After hearing of our struggles, and seeing the clinic first hand, Mokulele offered to hold a benefit concert featuring Anuhea here on Molokai,” she added.

MoHS staff of three operates out of two renovated shipping containers with a generator for electricity. The organization has struggled to keep a full-time veterinarian on staff, and after the last vet, Dr. Susan Baillie, moved back to the mainland to be closer to family, Molokai is again without a dedicated vet. Davis said they try to bring in a visiting vet monthly, but “the services have been very limited.”

According to Davis, the Molokai Humane Society is under the umbrella of the Maui branch, which receives funding from county grants and acts as the Molokai organization’s fiscal sponsor. However, Davis said they do not receive any financial support from larger animal welfare associations like the national Humane Society or ASPCA.

“[The county] funding only covers our spay and neuter services… We keep these low cost so they are available and affordable to the community,” she said. “This is why fundraisers such as this benefit concert are so critical to our everyday operations.”

Davis said funds may also go towards launching a foster program for abandoned animals. Because the organization is not a shelter, MoHS has not been able to secure funding for that purpose, she said. Funds would cover supplies, food and medication to treat animals and prepare them for adoption. Currently MoHS staff often bring abandoned animals into their own homes to care for them, said Davis.

In partnership with Mokulele, Wind on Water Communications has helped organize the concert and create long term fundraising solutions by updating the MoHS website and logo free of charge, and releasing promotional materials, said Davis.

The July 15 concert will feature Anuhea and special guest MoBettah Band, and also sponsored by Hotel Molokai. According to Mokulele, 100 percent of concert profits and donations will go towards MoHS. To purchase tickets to the benefit concert, visit molokaihumanesociety.org.

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