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Furry Business

Humane society seeks a stronger financial foundation.

By Melissa Kelsey

It is not only the Molokai Humane Society’s services that are improving; the island’s only veterinary service is taking steps toward financial sustainability as well.

Housed in a converted sea container near Ho`olehua, the animal care facility recently started taking animals by appointment instead of only on a walk-in basis to help the entire operation run more smoothly. In case pet owners do have to wait, they can check email and work online using the facility’s new onsite wireless internet.

With better service, a growing clientele and a busy schedule, the motley crew of animal lovers who coordinate the veterinary services want to make sure they are taking initiative to be financially solid.

“We want to show the county that we are fiscally responsible,” said Chairman of the Board, Koki Foster.

With these ideals in mind, the Molokai Humane Society is launching an organized fundraising campaign to raise money to sustain its overall program. For this initiative, the organization’s goal is to raise $20,000 annually to offset the $40,000 it receives each year from the county, in an effort to sustain its $60,000 operating budget.

Maui County has suggested that the Molokai Humane Society merge with the Maui Humane Society for simplicity’s sake, according to Foster. However, board members and residents alike consider it crucial for Molokai to have an independent animal foundation to meet the island’s needs in a sustainable way. Although the board believes that Maui County funding is secure, they want to make sure that their own voice is heard.

The society is pursuing several different routes to raise funds. First, they plan to start a membership program with membership fees for clients and community members who want to be more involved. While the details of the membership program are still being discussed, being a member could include perks such as a newsletter, pet shop discounts, and voting power when the organization has important decisions to make. Second, the society is planning fundraising events such as pancake breakfasts and bake sales, paying special attention to times of the year when there are more visitors on the island.

“We get a lot of our donations from visitors,” said Foster.

Lastly, fees for veterinary services will slightly increase, starting in April. The fee to spay or neuter a cat will be $15, instead of $10. The same service for dogs will now be $25, instead of $20.

“Although the fees are going up, the extra money is going right back into the program,” said Foster.

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