‘Rebuilding will take years’: Veterinary clinic linked to WNY destroyed in Maui wildfires

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — A veterinary hospital with ties to western New York is turning to the city of good neighbors for help in rebuilding. The West Maui Animal Clinic burned to the ground during the wildfires.

Animal hospital staff are shocked and saddened by the devastation caused by these wildfires. They’re still trying to process that their only location is now gone.

“Everything is gone, people had to flee on foot to escape the flames, leaving their cars and pets and leaving everything behind,” said Aleix Allan Humphries, a veterinary technician at the clinic’s central site.

Humphries’ collaborator, Dr. Anna Pleto, is from western New York. Her aunt posted on Facebook that Pleto was home visiting family for a few weeks and returned to Maui just before the fire broke out.

It wasn’t long before the fire engulfed the West Maui Animal Hospital. Cats and dogs that have been burned and animals that have inhaled smoke are currently being cared for at the central location of the clinic.

“At the clinic that’s here at the moment, we try to support people who have lost everything as best we can, we have cats and dogs that are victims of burns, we have animals that have inhaled smoke,” he said Pletho. “It’s just unbelievable how much damage has really been done to our beautiful island.”

Humphries says so many people on the island have lost everything.

“Lahaina was a historical place in Hawaiian culture and was once the capital of Hawaii, and now it’s gone,” Humphries said. “It’s going to take years and years and years to rebuild, and it’s going to take years for people who have seen some of these horrific things to mentally recover from it.”

The veterinary clinic raises money for the reconstruction. You can help by clicking the link.

Matt Covert of AAA in Orchard Park says the company is currently helping several of its WNY travelers who are stuck in Maui. He says they’re safe and they’re working on getting them on flights back here to Buffalo.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo news 4 Team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing tomvazquez@ustimetoday.com.

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