LIHUE, Hawaii — The Kauai Humane Society is over-capacity, with 201 shelter animals in the facility, but only 65 total kennels, according to the shelter’s spokesperson. 

What You Need To Know

  • The shelter is caring for 357 animals, which includes 120 animals in foster homes

  • The facility only has 65 kennels, meaning animals are being housed in rooms not meant for animals

  • The shelter is asking people to adopt, foster, donate or volunteer

  • If possible, the shelter is also requesting people hold on to animals that they find

“We have 65 total kennels devoted to housing in the shelter (33 dogs and 32 cat kennels),” said the shelter’s spokesperson Caitlin Fowlkes in an email to Spectrum News. “We are having to house outside of those kennels by utilizing other rooms which are not meant to be permanent housing for animals.”

The shelter is caring for 357 animals, including 120 animals in foster homes. 

“An animal shelter's ideal capacity is around 80%,” Fowlkes said.

The nonprofit shelter has been completely full for the entire year, like many shelters in Hawaii and across the U.S.

The shelter is asking people to adopt or foster. This year, fewer people are adopting from the shelter, according to a news release. There is also less capacity at mainland shelters, where KHS transfers animals. 

In 2023, the shelter has taken in over 400 kittens who are younger than 8 weeks, which require bottle feeding and medical attention. The shelter has also seen an increase in animals who need intense medical care because of vehicular injuries. Two dogs were brought in who had jumped out of a moving vehicle while tied up and were dragged behind the vehicle. 

KHS is requesting people not bring in dogs or cats. Instead, the shelter asks people who find healthy animals to hold on to them and search for their owners in the area where they were found and through social media. The shelter will provide supplies to anyone who temporarily holds onto an animal. Despite this request, if an animal is brought in, KHS will take them in, especially if they are sick or injured. 

Currently, the shelter is not euthanizing animals to create more space — but it could become a reality in the future. (However, the shelter euthanizes for “humane” reasons when the quality of life would be exceptionally diminished.) 

It takes $10,000 to run the shelter every day, according to KHS. Because of this, the shelter is asking people to donate or volunteer. 

The shelter will spay and neuter dogs and cats and provide them with a microchip for $35. The spay and neuter price reduction will continue until Feb. 2024. 

Michelle Broder Van Dyke covers the Hawaiian Islands for Spectrum News Hawaii. Email her at