An estimated 200 cats and dogs are caught in the middle of one Honolulu's largest homeless camp cleanups.
For at least two years, Hawaii's homeless have found refuge under the Nimitz viaduct. They've built a camp comprised of tents, tarps, and lean-to shelters, but on Monday, it was all taken down.
The state notified the homeless of their impending eviction last week, and since then, animal advocates have been scrambling to help the large population of animals also living in the area.
Rescue organizations including Hashtag Speak Up Movement, Poi Dogs and Popoki, Paws of Hawaii, and the Fur Angel Foundation arrived on site last week to explain to residents what exactly the sweep means for their pets.
The area was described as being "dirty and not livable" by Khon2, and volunteers found many animals living amidst the trash who are infested with fleas and ticks and face more serious medical issues including anemia and parvo.
As volunteers walked the camp during the days leading up to the sweep, they encouraged residents to consider the well-being of their pets. Without anywhere else to go, animal control would likely take custody of any animal found during the sweep. A 70% euthanasia rate at the city shelter puts every cat and dog left behind at risk.
Many of the animals were surrendered to rescue volunteers under the assurance they'd be placed in temporary foster homes. Hashtag Speak Up Movement has taken in several cats and dogs with varying medical needs, and they're relying on their network of fosters to give temporary refuge to the animals.
All of the animals taken into their care are being methodically treated for fleas, dewormed, and microchipped. They've also scheduled at least 40 owner surrendered dogs for sterilization, and they're encouraging those who refuse to surrender their animals to consider the importance of spaying and neutering.
Overall, local rescue organizations are driven by their goal to save as many lives as possible. The animals affected by the homeless sweep have been living in the camp for years, and their owners are struggling to provide the necessary care. They want to give every pet owner - regardless of housing status - the opportunity to do what's best.
The complete cleanup of the homeless camp is ongoing, and volunteers remain nearby to assist with the animals left behind. If you're interested in fostering or adopting any of the Nimitz viaduct animals, contact Hashtag Speak Up Movement, Hawaiian Humane Society, or Poi Dogs and Popoki.
What do you think of Honolulu's homeless sweeps? Let us know in the comments.
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