Golden Retriever

To The RESCUE...

It’s all in a night’s work for Suzanne Burry and Dennis Burns, the founders of Valley Isle Animal Rescue.

  • Untangling a horse caught in a wire fence.

  • Rappelling into a gulch to find a missing dog.

  • Freeing a wild pig stuck in a septic tank.

The couple started the nonprofit in 2003. When the time the Maui Humane Society had suspended its after-hours emergency service due to funding cuts, Valley Isle Animal Rescue stepped in to fill that void. Burry and Burns had previously run an animal rescue and sanctuary in San Diego, so they stepped up to fill the void.

The Maui Humane Society has since reinstated its 24-hour, seven-day-a-week animal response service; Valley Isle Animal Rescue will respond to calls if the Maui Humane Society is not available.

For more than a decade, Burry and Burns have come to the aid of lost, trapped, or injured

  • cats

  • dogs

  • horses

  • pigs

  • goats

  • ducks 

  • any type of animal in need.

They are often first on the scene of an animal-involved accident or emergency (particularly in locations the humane society can’t get to as quickly) and will immediately transport badly hurt animals to a veterinarian for treatment.

The husband-and-wife team routinely helps pets, livestock and wildlife get out of sticky situations — in gulches, fences, and yes, even septic tanks.

They also care for abandoned animals, reunite lost pets with their owners and take part in search-and-rescue efforts. 

Valley Isle Animal Rescue is a two-person operation, but the couple works closely with the

  • Maui Humane Society

  • Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation

  • Maui Pitbull Rescue and

  • The East Maui Animal Refuge (aka, the Boo-Boo Zoo).


Burns says his weeks are filled with highs and lows.

“It’s a rewarding business to be in, but also a heartbreaking business to be in,” he said. “You have to take the good with the bad.”

And he says the good always outweighs the bad.

“There are so many happy things that keep us going,” he said.

You can help Burns and Burry continue their lifesaving work by making a donation in any amount to Valley Isle Animal Rescue. Donations will help cover operating costs and veterinary care for sick or injured animals.


Checks can be made out to Valley Isle Animal Rescue and mailed to P.O. Box 695, Makawao, HI 96768.

If you encounter a loose pet, Burns says to safely contain it and call the Maui Humane Society or Valley Isle Animal Rescue any time of the day at 463-4194. If you encounter a wounded animal, call either organization and if possible, stay with it so it can be easily located by first responders.

Story by Sarah Ruppenthal, a Maui-based writer.