Hundreds of animals are scattered around Hawaii island following volcanic eruption
HAWAII — When lava first started to erupt, some people had days to prepare for evacuations, others only had minutes. Many people had to leave their pets and livestock behind or find temporary housing. Hundreds are now scattered around the island in shelters, animal sanctuaries and foster homes.
“To me, the thought of them just being left behind potentially in harms way just didn’t sit well for me,” Axel Kratel, fostering livestock said.
Kratel went in to rescue goats, sheep, chickens and a turkey.
“We have Ginger the Lava Cat. They all came from one farm,” Kratel said.
Kratel says the owner had to flee, his farm was just off Highway 132, not far from the Puna Geothermal Venture. His cows didn’t make it out, it was a rush to save the rest.
“The lava is right at the house, it’s 30 yards away form the pasture. So if we hadn’t taken these animals out, these animals would have been under the lava,” Kratel said.
Dozens of dogs, puppies and cats ended up at the Rainbow Animal Sanctuary in Curtistown.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are dumping their animals, so we’re getting a lot of abandoned and surrendered animals as well,” Kathy Buono, Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary said.
A litter of puppies were found in a box on the side of the highway near the lava zone. Honeybear and Panda’s home was inundated with ash and Sulfur dioxide.
“We have people crying on the phone, I mean the phone is ringing off the hook with people looking for help. It’s very emotional for them,” Buono said.
Some are still stranded on land surrounded by lava.
“The biggest challenge that we have is that some owners don’t really want them removed at this point. Because there’s a possibility Lava will not cover those areas in their mind and the other issue is that they’re worried they won’t go to a good home,” Kratel said.
Civil Defense says it’s now working with the Hawaii Fire Department to coordinate air rescues and taking calls for animal rescues.