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URGENT - Hawaii Breeder Bill Hearing on March 1

(Tuesday, March 01, 2011)

The American Kennel Club has learned that a public hearing is scheduled on March 1, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. on Hawaii Senate Bill 1522 S.D.1, a bill to regulate dog breeding. The bill has already been advanced by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection and will now be heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has strong concerns about the impact this bill could have on responsible hobby breeders.

SB 1522 S.D.1 requires licensing as a "large scale dog breeder" of any person who:

  • Owns or harbors 20 or more intact female dogs over 6 months of age that are "intended for breeding," or
  • Owns or harbors 30 intact dogs over 6 months of age that are intended for breeding, or
  • Regardless of the number of dogs owned, sells, offers for sale, exchange or lease 25 or more puppies in any one-year period.

Because the bill does not indicate how "intended for breeding" is defined, it could impact people who never or rarely produce a litter. The bill also establishes undetermined annual licensing fees and arbitrary engineering requirements for enclosures. Applications for licensing would require the prior approval of the appropriate county department or planning and permitting department.

Additional concerns about this bill include, but are not limited to:

  • Limits to 50 the number of intact dogs a person may have on his premises. The AKC believes that responsible dog ownership is determined by the care and conditions under which dogs are kept, not the number of dogs a person may own.
  • Arbitrary requirements – This bill would establish numerous requirements for dog care and enclosures that do not take into account a dog’s breed, age or condition. Strict requirements such as "constant and unfettered access to an outdoor exercise area" could prove lethal to an aged or ill dog and would prevent a responsible owner from confining dogs indoors in the evenings so that barking and other noises do not create a nuisance.
  • Unannounced inspections – This bill would allow inspections at any time during regular business hours of those portions of all buildings, yards, pens and other areas in which dogs are kept, handled or transported. Inspections would be carried out to ensure compliance with provisions of this bill and with any future rules adopted pursuant to this measure. There is no exemption for personal residences.
  • Excessive civil penalties – This bill would subject violators to civil penalties of $1,000 per day for licensing violations and $1,000 per citation for violations of current and future rules as determined by the Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. In most jurisdictions, oversight and rulemaking for animal care and breeding fall under a department with expertise in animal husbandry such as the Department of Agriculture.

Read AKC’s Issue Analysis "The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders"
Read AKC’s Issue Brief on Responsible Breeding Practices

How You Can Help:

Attend the public hearing and politely express your concerns with SB 1522 S.D.1. The hearing will be held on March 1, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 16, 415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.

Prior to the meeting, submit comments online by clicking here and entering "SB1522" in Section 1. You can also use this online form to indicate that you will attend the hearing, which may prioritize your opportunity to speak before the committee.

Contact Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor to politely express your concerns and ask them to vote "no" on SB1522.

Senator Clayton Hee, Chair
808-586-7330
senhee@capitol.hawaii.gov

Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro
808-586-7793
senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov

Senator Mike Gabbard
808-586-6830
sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov

Senator Les Ihara
808-586-6250
senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov

Senator Sam Slom
808-586-8420
senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov

Contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org for more information.