Categorized | Volunteering

Home At Last seeking new home

Special to Hawaii 24/7

Home At Last, Inc. (HAL) is a no-kill animal refuge that was established four years ago and is presently located in Waimea.

It is a 501c3 non-profit organization set up to care for dogs, cats and horses that have been abused or neglected either through willful intent or through ignorance, irresponsibility or lack of education.

HAL allows these animals to live out their lives without fear and with dignity security and love, said Samantha A. Cristos, HAL president and founding director.

Many people are unaware that close to 1,000 animals are killed each month on the Big Island simply because there is no place to care for them, she said. The feral cat population must be brought under control, as well as a growing feral dog population.

On an island that has so many hard to reach areas, there are dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, exotic birds and other species that are eternally chained or caged – sometimes remembered with food occasionally tossed at them – sometimes starved to death, Cristos said. Some never feel the warmth of a loving hand. Many animals are being abandoned by their owners who feel they need to give them up because they are facing financial problems. They do not take them to the local pound for fear of their being put down.

HAL is urgently seeking an ag-zoned land donation anywhere in the northern part of the island from Pauuilo to Kohala.

“It is extremely important to establish a no-kill facility for these innocent creatures that have no way of controlling their reproduction and no way of caring for themselves if they are abandoned, abused, neglected, starving, sick or just in need of tender pat on their heads.” Cristos said.

The refuge is now located in Waimea, but the residence where it now is will be going up for sale.

“If we do not find a place in the country right away, the rescued animals will be a risk. The best case scenario would be to be receive an ag-zoned land donation with an existing building where the already rescued animals could be housed,” Cristos said. “HAL is asking the community to help us find someone who might be in a position to make such a donation. If not a land donation, then help in immediately finding a Section 8 approved rental with an adjacent barn or warehouse is essential.”

Cristos said she accepts donations of HI-5 plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans to help fund the refuge.

A donation site is set up next to the entrance of NAPA in Waimea. The donation barrels right beside entrance. Other items that are accepted as donations and generate funds include used cell phones and empty printer ink cartridges.

Cristos said the refuge is always in need of certain items, including:

* Dry dog or cat food
* Scoopable cat litter is used daily
* Towels, detergent and bleach

Also, cash donations welcome and are tax-deductible. Make checks out to “Home At Last, Inc.” and mail to Home At Last, Inc., P. O. Box 6917, Kamuela, HI 96743.

“Once we have our location secured, we will have many needs such as volunteers, clearing land, construction of kennels, cat enclosures, stables, storage facilities, paddocks, a two-horse trailer, a clinic, portable kennels and carriers and cages,” she said.

Cristos said the refuge also is in need of a volunteer website builder and a volunteer grant writer.

“A lot of work will be involved in getting the refuge up and running,” Cristos said. “These animals are part of the aina. It is up to us to be responsible stewards in order to make this a success.”

Cristos said she plans to add many HAL programs, including: education on controlling the spiraling pet population, education on proper care of animals, free spay/neuter clinics for those who can not afford to fix their pets, adoption, foster care, sponsoring un-adoptable animals, therapy programs for adults and kids where both parties would benefit from the relationship since both people and animals need to heal, and a pet cemetery.

For information, contact Cristos at 989-9089, or e-mail

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