In 1897, the first Hawaiian Humane Society officers ventured out on horseback, investigating claims of animal cruelty across Oahu with a newfound legal authority. Apart from acting as physical advocates, they raised public awareness about the proper care of work animals and demonstrated how to conduct humane treatment and feeding.
Today, the Hawaiian Humane Society’s overarching principle remains much the same: to promote the human-animal bond and the humane treatment of all animals. The organization’s staff and volunteers care for cats, dogs, and all animals that have been abandoned or neglected, advocating for animal welfare in the law and among the public. The organization's 30 programs and services include sterilization treatments and educational services, and its animal-cruelty officers have been deputized by the Honolulu Police Department to investigate cases of cruelty and neglect. Though they do not have the power to arrest people, they can mandate veterinarian services and issue citations and court summonses for complaints against pet owners.