A Brighter Year in 2008 for Pets on Molokai

New veterinarian moving to the island in January

By Léo Azambuja

Finally someone has heard the prayers of thousands of Molokai pets – a new veterinarian is moving to the island, and setting up practice. “So we have a veterinarian here full-time,” announced Julie Lopez, Molokai Humane Society (MHS) president.

In January 2008 Dr. Sterling Thomas will be relocating with his wife, Dr. Brenda Thomas, who is also a veterinarian, to Molokai.

Molokai pet owners have been suffering without a permanent veterinarian since Dr. Brown left to Kula, Maui a few months ago. In the mean time, spay and neuter procedures had to be done on Maui, or out of someone’s home whenever a veterinarian visited the island.

“This is a great thing for the Molokai community,” Lopez said. “If you have emergencies you don’t have to go to Oahu or Maui anymore.”

In a twist of irony, Dr. Thomas just sold his office in Dalls, Oregon to a Hawaiian woman-veterinarian from Kauai.

Dr. Thomas will be setting up practice at the new MHS office, in Ho`olehua. Lopez said operating out of the MHS office will offset rental expenses for Dr. Thomas, which will bring down the cost for the community.

Cats and dogs are not the only four-legged animals benefiting from a new veterinarian. Dr. Thomas also practices on farm animals as well, such as pigs, goats, horses and cattle. “It’s great, because he is an all-around vet,” Lopez said.

Dr. Thomas is already getting acquainted with the community on Molokai. He recently visited the island twice, and took a tour around Molokai Ranch, Kualapuu Ranch, and the slaughterhouse – and even visited Molokai General Hospital. He also met Tina, the manager at Hikiola store, to get acquainted with the locals who deal with livestock products.

Lopez said the MHS board members have been working really hard to make it possible to bring a veterinarian to Molokai. “It took two years of work to put this together.” She said board directors Viola Wichman, Terry Waros, and Mikal Berry were very important in the process.

The new office where Dr. Thomas will be setting up, took a lot of effort to become reality. Lopez said Councilman Danny Mateo brought in some much-needed grants, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands donated the land on a lease basis, and Monsanto’s Ray Foster offered to clear the vegetation on the land at no charges. Molokai High School art teacher Perry Buchalter brought in a crew of students and painted the office. Finally, Pastor Kyle Lum blessed the building. Molokai is now ready to welcome the new veterinarian.


Once Dr. Thomas arrives, spay and neuter procedures will be available for only $10. “People should take advantage of this,” Lopez said. Residents who wish to help MHS can donate kennels anytime. Lopez said that after procedures are done, Dr. Thomas will need to place animals in kennels. “Any size will help, small or big,” Lopez said.

There is a problem that is happening since the new MHS office was inaugurated. Lopez said residents keep leaving unwanted animals in front of the office. Lopez asked for residents to stop, because the office is not equipped to take the animals.

“By law we should have a facility on the island,” Lopez said. One way of pushing for a much-needed facility would be writing letters to the government through our representatives, according to her. She envisions a facility that would be like an extension of the Maui Humane Society.

Lopez also said that on Nov. 29 Maui Humane Society CEO Jocelyn Bouchard will be a guest speaker at the Molokai Humane Society Annual Meeting, which will take place at Mitchell Pauole Center, at 4:30 p.m. If anyone is interested in becoming a board member, please contact the MHS at 558-0000.


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