Admissions FAQ


  • I have a cat in a trap that I would like to surrender, and I don’t have an appointment.

    We are not accepting cats in traps except in cases of emergency (i.e. they are severely injured, in need of immediate medical attention, or un-weaned kittens that have been abandoned and no mother is around to care for them). We ask that you return the cat back to where you found it or have the cat sterilized free-of-charge at our Community Spay/Neuter Center and then return it back to the found location (a program we call Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage). You can find more information on TNRM and our Feline Fix program HERECats must be returned to the found location. Relocating Free-Roaming cats is illegal in the state of Hawaiʻi.

  • I found an animal and would like to adopt it.

    We have an Opt to Adopt Program which gives the finder the first right to adopt the animal. This program is only for the finder of the animal and is not meant for friends, family members or acquaintances of the finder. If a finder is interested in the program and the animal is a candidate for adoption, a hold will be placed in our system for the finder. The animal will be held for the legal holding period, giving the animals owner time to reclaim their stray pet, if applicable. Once the animal is surrendered, no information or updates will be given to the finder. The animal is not in the legal custody of the Hawaiian Humane Society until the mandated holding period is complete and is not owned by the finder until the animal is formally adopted. By law, animals with microchips must be held for 5 days, and non-microchipped animals for 48 hours. This holding period begins at the time of admission and may be extended if a possible owner is found. If an owner does come forward to claim the animal during the holding period, that animal will be released to the owner and the finder will not be contacted. That animal’s photo will no longer show up on our stray page. After the hold period is over and the animal is in the legal custody of the Hawaiian Humane Society, the animal will then go through our behavioral and medical examination process. There is no exact timeframe for when this process will be complete and the animal will be available to be adopted, as cases vary depending on behavioral and medical needs. The Opt to Adopt Program covers sterilization, vaccines, microchipping, de-wormers, and flea and tick treatment. If any additional medical concerns are noted, the finder will be contacted by our veterinary team to ensure that as the finder, you are willing to treat these medical concerns at your own expense via a private veterinary clinic. The Opt to Adopt Program ensures that the finder will be contacted before the animal goes out to our adoptions center. The finder will only be contacted by our adoptions team once the animal has been fully cleared for adoption. At that time, the finder will be given a 24-hour window to come in and adopt the animal. All adoption fees apply. If the finder fails to come in during the given window, the animal will be moved out to our adoption center and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • I need to surrender my pet and want to know more about the owner surrender process.

    Surrendering your pet should always be a last-resort. There are many resources available to you to help you keep your pet. You can read more about alternatives to pet surrender HERE. If you have evaluated all other options and surrendering your pet to us is what is needed, you can learn more about surrendering a pet HERE.

  • I need to surrender a stray animal and want to know more about the stray surrender process.

    When a stray animal is found and brought to the Humane Society, our goal is to reunite that animal with his/her owner. We will hold the animal for the mandated holding period which is 48 hours for non-microchipped animals and 5 days for microchipped animals. If the animal is microchipped, we will contact the owner using the contact information that is registered to the microchip. If no owner comes forward during the hold period, the animal will legally enter the custody of Hawaiian Humane and will begin the shelter process. The animal will go through the same process in the shelter as an owner-surrendered pet. The animal must be able to pass the health and behavior evaluations, meaning that the animal must be relatively healthy and able to be handled safely by our staff. Depending on the animal’s age and health, it may be required for the animal to be fostered for a period of time. Once the animal passes these evaluations and is cleared medically, the animal will be sterilized and made available for adoption. Once out for adoption, the animal will be available on a first-come, first served basis. If the finder of the animal wishes to adopt the animal they must inform admissions staff at the time of surrender of the animal.

  • I’d like to rent a trap for a dog/chicken on my property.

    We do not rent traps for dogs or chickens.

  • I would like to look at the cats/dogs not yet in the adoptions center.

    The only animals that are available for adoption are the animals in the adoption center/on our Adoptions Page. Animals in our Admissions and Veterinary Center are either waiting for their owner to pick them up or are under medical treatment. Animals are not available for viewing or adoption until they go out to our adoptions center. 

  • I am interested in renting a trap to remove some feral cats from my yard.

    Our cat trap rental program is for the TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Release, Manage) program only. We do not rent out traps for the purpose of removing cats from the found location or bringing them in for surrender. We do not have an adoption option for feral cats.

    Traps are available for a 7-day rent for TNRM use only through the Ginny Tiu Community Spay/Neuter Center. Please note, trap reservations are available Wednesday-Saturday from 9 am-12 pm at the Ginny Tiu Community Spay/Neuter Center. They are no longer available through Admissions. 

    You can find more information on TNRM and our Feline Fix program HERECats must be released back to the found location. Relocating Free-Roaming cats is illegal in the state of Hawaiʻi.

  • How long does it take before an animal I surrendered goes out to the adoption center?

    Time spent at the shelter is different for every animal. If it is a case of owner-surrender by an owner registered on the microchip, or if the animal is not microchipped, the animal will quickly begin the process of being medically cleared to move to the adoption. 

    In the case of a stray animal with a microchip or an owner-surrender by the non-microchip owner, the animal will be held for 5 days to give the microchip owner a chance to claim their animal. Stray animals without microchips are held for 48 hours before beginning the process of being cleared for adoption. Once an animal passes its behavior and health examinations, it is then microchipped, sterilized, vaccinated and moved to adoptions. The health of the animal and whether fostering is required will also affect the length of time an animal remains in our care before being made available for adoption.

  • I am looking for my lost pet and would like to see if he/she is at the shelter.

    If your pet is microchipped to you then we will need to see photo ID to verify ownership. If your pet is not microchipped or their microchip has not been registered/updated with your information, then you will need to have photos of the animal as proof of ownership, and you will also need a form of photo ID. We will also need to know the location that the animal was lost and whether or not the animal was wearing any form of identification (such as a collar or harness). 

  • Why is it important that I get my animal microchipped?

    The microchipping of all owned cats and dogs is required by law by the City & County of Honolulu. A microchip is a nano-chip similar in size to a grain of rice that is injected under the skin using a syringe. A microchip is not a GPS tracker and will not show the location of your animal when they go missing, rather you must register your contact information to the microchip at the time of, or shortly after the procedure. If an animal is found and brought to a veterinary clinic or shelter, that animal can be scanned for a microchip. Scanning will show the microchip’s serial number that is unique for every animal (similar to a VIN number on a car). That unique number is searched and will pull up the owner’s contact information registered to it. We are then able to contact and inform the owner that their pet has been found and ensure that they are reunited. It is important that the microchip is registered with the microchip manufacturer or a free database like so that the owner’s contact info is correct and on file. An unregistered microchip is just a serial number that doesn’t connect to any owner information, making it difficult, if not impossible, to reunite the owner with their pet. Information on the microchip manufacturer and how to register your information should be provided whenever an owner has their animal microchipped, either at the Hawaiian Humane or a private veterinary clinic. Lost animals that are microchipped have a better chance of being reunited with their owner, and microchipping is a simple yet effective way to safeguard your pet. The microchipping process only takes about 10 minutes plus the time it takes to finalize the paperwork. 

  • Do I have to also get a license for my dog on Oʻahu?

    Effective July 1, 2020, City & County of Honolulu regulations no longer require purchase of a dog license, instead all dogs and cats must be microchipped. Hawaiian Humane no longer sells dog licenses. See our pet identification page for further details.

  • I am bringing my animal in for humane euthanasia/cremation and want to know more about the process.

    We provide end-of-life services for owners who have determined that their pet needs to be humanely euthanized. We are not a private veterinary clinic and are therefore unable to accommodate owners staying with their pet during the euthanasia process. If an owner wishes to remain with their animal during the euthanasia process, we ask that they visit a private veterinary clinic. Euthanasia is performed immediately upon intake. The microchip owner must bring in the animal if the animal is microchipped, and the owner must provide photo ID at the time of admission. If the animal is brought in by someone other than the owner, we will need to contact a verifiable owner before proceeding. The owner will have the option of having a communal cremation with no ashes returned, or having a private cremation with ashes returned. Prices vary depending on which service the owner requests as well as the size of the animal. Cremation is performed off-property by a third-party provider. If the owner wants a private cremation, we will call them for pick up once the ashes are returned to our facility (usually within 7 business days).

  • Does Hawaiian Humane accept wildlife or livestock?

    Hawaiian Humane is referring wildlife or livestock to organizations with the expertise to care for them and in most cases are not admitting them to our shelter. Wildlife includes but is not limited to: wild birds, ducks, stray turtles, mongoose, stray pigs, wallabies, stray peafowl, free-roaming chickens and wild rodents. Livestock includes, but is not limited to, any horse, cow, goat, sheep, donkey, or pig. We remain an amnesty drop-off site for illegal pets.

    While the Hawaiian Humane Society advocates for the humane treatment of all animals, we don’t have the expertise or the facilities to meet the needs of wild animals, livestock or aquatic animals. More resources are available here.

  • Don’t see your question here? Check out our General FAQ.