H.E.L.P. Puna

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Overview/What You Can Do Now

The district of Puna is on alert!  The June 27 lava flow poses a threat to farms and homes in the Puna area near Pahoa.  Since this flow is in an agricultural area, it also threatens farm animals such as chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, in addition to dogs and cats. As people prepare for possible evacuation, they need to prepare and plan for evacuating their livestock and pets, too.

Travel into and out of Puna may be restricted once Highway 130 is blocked by the lava. Alternative routes will be slow, single lane, and the less traffic the better for everyone. Ride sharing by car, and by boat from Pohoiki, can help reduce road congestion and speed up travel. Some residents may also need to find new homes if they need to evacuate. HELP Puna allows residents to offer space for animals, people, and ride sharing. It’s like Craigslist. All arrangements are between parties. We just are providing the venue for connecting those in need with those who can help.

The Good Shepherd Foundation is accepting donations to help people with transportation costs, feed, and boarding fees.

What is the Threat?

There are several threats from lava.  The lava directly destroys properties, homes, pasture, and crops.  In addition, the smoke from forest and brush fires caused by the lava can create harmful air pollution that can impact residents and their animals miles away, depending on prevailing winds.  And poisonous sulfur dioxide gas can rise from vents and other cracks far away from the front of the lava flow.

All these situations may require evacuation.  Notice from civil defense may be given within days of needing to leave.  Plans must already be in place to evacuate property and animals.

Finding Accommodations

Finding accommodations for displaced people and their animals could become a major challenge as this lava flow continues.   H.E.L.P. Puna is providing this registry free of charge to residents who need to find places to protect their animals, and other residents in safe areas who wish to offer their properties as “Places of Refuge”.

Some “refuges” will be willing to accept only certain types of animals, such as dogs or cats.  Others may have large fenced pastures or yards where they can take horses, sheep, or goats.  Still others may have small backyards where they can only take chickens.  Everyone is invited to offer their property as a haven from the lava flow for any livestock and pets they can accommodate.

We also invite those with animal trailers to offer their services on this website.  Some people will need help moving their animals, especially as they worry about saving everything else from the lava flow.


Keep in mind the following when discussing bringing your animals to a Place of Refuge:

  1. You may need to keep your animals at the Refuge for months or longer, depending on how long the lava flows and what happens to your home.  Choose a place for your animals carefully.
  2. You may need to pay for feeding your animals.  Make plans for this.
  3. Arrange in advance for visiting times.  How often can you see your animals?
  4. Talk about what to do if you can’t take your animals back.
  5. Visit the place where your animals will be staying before taking them there to make sure they will be safe, including adequate fencing, water, shelter from rain and wind, enough grazing area, and no threat of fights with other animals.
  6. Discuss what to do if there is a need for veterinarian care.  Should they ask you first?  How will you pay?
  7. Be careful with any transfer of money.  Do not pay too far in advance.
  8. Make plans for transporting the animals.  Are they easily caught and placed in a trailer?  Do you need a loading ramp, or a portable kennel?  Who will transport them for you?
  9. If you have horses or other livestock, have your animals photographed or tagged for identification.  If you are offering a place of refuge for animals, it is a good idea to keep the boarded ones away from your own animals for at least 30 days to prevent the possible spread of disease.  Check with your veterinarian for ways to protect your animals.

When our community is faced with a crisis, our Aloha spirit pulls us together.   The H.E.L.P Puna registry is your portal to sharing that Aloha with friends and neighbors trying to save our animals from the devastation of this lava flow, and from other environmental emergencies.

Those offering their places as refuges can do so for free or for a fee.  It is between the parties to decide all financial issues and ensure there is a good fit.  In fact, all activity and contacts made through this website are the sole responsibility of the animal owner and property owner.   H.E.L.P. Puna and the Good Shepherd Foundation take no responsibility for and make no claims about any of the posts made on this website or any animal placements made through this website.  In other words, you are on your own.  We are just providing a platform for the exchange of information.  We are not guaranteeing any outcomes.  Use this site at your own risk.