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Breed-Specific Bill Introduced in Hawaii

(Thursday, January 29, 2009)

Hawaii Senator Colleen Hanabusa, president of the Hawaii Senate, has introduced Senate Bill 79, which seeks to prohibit the ownership, possession, or sale of "pit bulls" in the state. The bill defines pit bulls as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club. The AKC vehemently opposes breed-specific legislation. All concerned dog owners in Hawaii are urged to contact their elected representatives and the members of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, which currently has cognizance of the bill, and express their respectful yet strong opposition to this hard-to-enforce legislation.

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.

If enacted, SB 79 will:

  • Make it a misdemeanor to own, possess, or sell a pit bull.
  • Define pit bulls as "any dog that is an American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of those breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of those breeds."
  • Allow searches of a pit bull owner’s property.
  • Provide for impoundment of dogs considered pit bulls.
  • Allow for the forfeiture of such dogs.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
All concerned dog owners in Hawaii should contact their elected representatives, and the members of the Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee, and express their strong opposition to this breed-specific legislation.

To find your elected officials, please click here.

For a customizable sample letter, please click here.

Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee

Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi, Chair
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 219
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
phone 808-586-6460; fax 808-586-6461
e-mail sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. Dwight Y. Takamine, Vice-Chair
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 204
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone 808-586-7335; Fax 808-586-7339
Email sentakamine@capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. Robert Bunda
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 202
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
phone 808-586-6090; fax 808-586-6091
e-mail senbunda@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. Mike Gabbard
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 201
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
phone 808-586-6830; fax 808-586-6679
e-mail sengabbard@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 213
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
phone 808-586-6970
fax 808-586-6879
e-mail sennishihara@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. Sam Slom
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 222
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
phone 808-586-8420; fax 808-586-8426
e-mail senslom@Capitol.hawaii.gov

RESOURCES:

For a copy of the bill, click here.

For a downloadable copy of our Deed, Not Breed flyer, click here.

For more information, please contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.