HIHS and Rainbow Friends ready animals for adoption

  • Shaela Jardine, left, gives a dog a vaccination while Angie Leipold holds onto her at the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelter in Keaau on Thursday. (Photos by Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • Angie Leipold, left, and Caitlin Cavanaugh take an intake photo of Rex after giving him a medical check up at the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelter in Keaau on Thursday.

  • Lauren Nickerson scans a dog for a microchip at the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelter in Keaau on Thursday.

  • From left, Deborah Hillman, Lexi Anzai and Beth Evesong unload dogs that have been transferred from Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary to the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelter.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Volunteer Beth Evesong pets the dog, Rex, after he arrives at the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelter in Keaau from Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

The Hawaii Island Humane Society had all hands on deck to bring in more than 20 dogs to its shelter in Keaau from Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary on Thursday afternoon.

“When we came to understand that (Rainbow Friends) had quite a few animals, we decided to lend a hand as a transfer partner,” said HIHS CEO Lauren Nickerson. “By taking these animals into our care, where we have the capacity to get them ready for adoption, then that opens up space at Rainbow Friends and helps them expand resources.”


Hawaii Island Humane Society and Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary have worked together since Rainbow Friends was awarded the animal control contract from the county in June 2020. While Rainbow Friends spearheaded animal control, the Humane Society would transfer animals to its facilities when there was open space.

Since October 2020, the Humane Society has taken in about 250 animals from Rainbow Friends.

“Lauren came every month and selected several dogs to take in, which was hugely helpful,” said Mary Rose Krijgsman, founder of Rainbow Friends. “Since we are wrapping up the animal control contract, we are having to move and transfer more dogs from all the shelters, so this was very helpful today.”

Last month, Hawaii County announced its animal control contract with Rainbow Friends would expire at the end of June and would not be extended.

“Now that Rainbow Friends is not doing animal control and things are shifting, there is still a lot of animals left at the sanctuary waiting for homes from this past 11 months,” Nickerson said.

When the dogs were transferred to the Keaau shelter on Thursday, they were immediately scanned for microchips and sent to the veterinarian team for basic check-ups, which included taking a flea and tick preventative, getting tested for heartworms, and getting vaccinated.

After a medical check-up, the shelter will take the animals’ photographs and list them on the website for adoption and foster-to-adopt.

“Today we have a full staff since we’re taking in a lot more dogs at one time. But as soon as animals come in, we focus on getting them ready for adoption,” Nickerson said. “We’re grateful to Rainbow Friends for collaborating with us and giving different opportunities of adoption to animals that have been staying there for a while.”

The Humane Society staff plans to keep working with Rainbow Friends and help with its transition from animal control services.

“Now that we’re not doing animal control, we have more possibilities to help more animals in our community,” Nickerson said. “These are dogs that we can lend a helping hand to now and we want to advocate for all animals to have every chance they can to get adopted.”

Residents in need of animal control services, including assistance with stray animals or lost pets, can now contact the Hawaii Police Department non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.


Rainbow Friends is open to the public for adoptions every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Requests for adoptions can also be sent to mail@rainbowfriends.org or by phone at 808-982-5110.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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