A community-driven event to collect donations to aid animals distressed by fireworks will be held on Saturday, December 22 in the parking lot of the Kahului Shopping Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The one day Fireworks Relief for Maui Animals donation drive benefits Valley Isle Animal Rescue, a non-profit that focuses on responding to animals in distress and in urgent need of assistance and rescue. The volunteer-based organization, operated by founders Dennis Burns and Suzanne Burry, has been doing emergency rescue services since 2011 and responds to over a hundred calls each year. Emergency calls to the rescue organization is expected to spike in response to an increase of illegal fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve.
Items needed are towels, pet food, pet crates, carriers, leashes, collars, and small-sized or baby bed comforters. All items should be new or in good condition. Santa will be on site to help accept donations and greet pets and children. If the collection of donated items exceeds the immediate needs of Valley Isle Animal Rescue, items will be shared with other animal rescue groups in need.
Fireworks cause a significant increase in reports of animals missing from homes or found injured after escaping from a home and encountering traffic or unfriendly people and animals. The fear creates enough adrenaline that frantic dogs in particular are able to climb fences and break through barriers they otherwise would not be able to do under normal circumstances, surprising even their owners who took every precaution to prevent a runaway dog.
“During this time of year fireworks are being used illegally and it doesn’t give pet owners a chance to prepare their pets. When it’s New Year’s Eve, families with pets will take steps to keep nervous and frightened animals safe. They’ll make sure to offer comfort to any pet terrified by loud fireworks throughout the night. With illegal fireworks there’s no preparation time and animals panic and run,” said Suzanne Burry.
Saturday’s event is organized by Friends of Mochi, a grassroots group led by Mahina and Ben Martin whose family dog, Mochi, becomes the subject of searches to locate him following explosion-like sounds from illegal fireworks.
“It’s a shame that people who won’t save their fireworks for New Year’s Eve don’t see what their fun is causing for many families and those families’ pets. It’s truly heartbreaking when a runaway pet can’t be found or becomes injured by roadway traffic,” said Mahina Martin. “Valley Isle Animal Rescue’s dedication to help animals in trouble is extraordinary. They are often hard at work in the middle of the night searching and helping, especially now with early New Year celebrations affecting neighborhoods throughout Maui. Saturday’s donation drive is an opportunity to offer kokua to them.”
For more information or to volunteer for the event contact Mahina Martin at 385-1221. For more information on Valley Isle Animal Rescue find them on Facebook or contact the organization at 463-4194 or 463-4108.