Our Story

About Us

The Hawaiian Humane Society is dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond and the humane treatment of all animals. We work towards creating a truly humane society based on compassion and shared responsibility. We envision a community in which every companion animal has a home – a community in which people highly regard and care for their own animals and all animals on O’ahu.

In 2019, the Board of Directors, and an all new leadership team lead by President & CEO Anna Neubauer, committed our organization to becoming a completely new organization. We are focused on being a true community-driven animal welfare organization that follows, and even leads, in employing and developing best practices for animal wellbeing. We know that so much of the work begins in the community and so are deeply committed to working with partner organizations, government agencies and concerned community members. 

We are guided by the ideals of Socially Conscious Sheltering and are committed to seeking the best possible outcome for animals in our care and in the community we support.   

Our Story

In 1883, 350 concerned citizens including King Kalākaua organized what became the Hawaiian Humane Society, to advocate on behalf of companion and working animals. Our first office was a cottage on the Iolani Palace grounds. The organization’s mission quickly grew to include prevention of cruelty to children and the care of unwed mothers. 

In 1897, 26 year-old Helen Kinau Wilder, member of a prominent kamaʻāina family, was given the authority to enforce animal cruelty laws as the first female police officer of the Hawaiian Police Force. She and her friends pooled their resources to pay a salary to hire Chang Apana, our first animal crimes investigator. Our welfare efforts were aimed more at working animals than pet cats or dogs. Even then, education was a top priority. In a time when animal information was very basic, it fell to those early members to raise public awareness about the proper care, feeding and humane treatment of animals. The vision of those early pioneers continues to guide  our efforts today.

In 1935, we turned over the child protection functions to government agencies such as Child Protective Services allowing us to focus our energies exclusively on the needs of Oʻahu’s animals.

In 1942 we moved to our current campus in Mōʻiliʻili, and have since expanded our facility several times to meet the growing need, most recently in 2016 with the construction of our Veterinary Services Hospital.