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URGENT: Hawaii Committees to Vote on Onerous Dog Ownership Bill Wednesday, 2/27

(Tuesday, February 26, 2013)

The Hawaii Senate Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection/Ways and Means will vote on Senate Bill 414 SD1 on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.  Concerned dog owners are encouraged to immediately contact committee members and ask them to vote no on SB414. (Please see contact information, below.)

SB414 has been entirely amended, and now would establish extensive requirements and require licensing of all persons who own ten or more intact dogs over the age of 4 months, even if no dogs are bred or sold.  It would also prohibit ownership or custody of more than 30 intact dogs over the age of 1 year, prohibit breeding any dog older than 8 years, require unannounced inspections of a licensee’s private premises, and establish biennial fees of $500.

This bill would allow counties to contract with any “dog protective agency” to develop additional rules and to impound dogs belonging to persons not in compliance.

Under SB141 as currently written, owners of more than 10 intact dogs over the age of four months would be subject to numerous provisions of concern, which include but are not limited to:

  • It would be a violation to fail to implant a microchip in a dog over the age of four months.  It would also be a violation to implant a microchip in a dog less than four months.  Therefore, a dog owner who did not have a dog microchipped on its four-month birthday would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000.
  • Because this bill requires providing “constant and unfettered access to an indoor enclosure,” securing dogs outside – even temporarily for play time and exercise – would be a misdemeanor and would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000, regardless if protection from the elements, water, and other comforts were provided. 
  • The use of turn-out areas for providing dogs with regular periodic exercise and play would not meet the requirement for providing “constant and unfettered access” to an exercise area. A violation would be a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000.
  • Failure to provide veterinary care for any illness or injury would be a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000. This requirement exceeds legal requirements for the parents and legal guardians of minor children.
  • It would be a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000 to breed any dog, male or female, older than age eight or more than twice in an 18-month period.  This could be devastating to the genetic diversity of rare breeds and would curtail the breeding of dogs that exhibit the desirable traits of health and longevity. 
  • Enclosing a dog in an appropriately-sized dog crate, even temporarily or for training purposes, would be a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000.
  • Lack of compliance with extensive recordkeeping requirements would be a misdemeanor and subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000.
  • The premises of a licensee would be subject to unannounced inspections during “business hours.” This is unreasonable for dog owners who do not breed their dogs and for hobby breeders who do not operate a business or who work outside the home.
  • Any person who owned, possessed, controlled, or otherwise had charge or custody of more than 10 intact dogs over the age of four months who was not licensed as a “dog breeder” would be subject to a penalty of up to $1000 per day. 

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who meet their responsibilities.  However, we are concerned that numerous overreaching provisions of SB414 would be burdensome to owners of intact dogs and to responsible, home-based hobby breeders. 

What You Can Do

  • Contact committee members in advance of the hearing to state your concerns.
  • Indicate your opposition to this bill via an online form by clicking here. Type SB414 in the box under “Enter a measure to retrieve the corresponding hearing notice” and follow the instructions. You may also submit comments (referred to as “testimony”) via the online form.  Important – testimony submitted less than 24 hours prior to the hearing may be marked “late” and may not be available to committee members until after the hearing has concluded.
  • Verbal testimony will not be accepted at the committee hearing. Attendance at the hearing and the submission of written testimony are encouraged. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. in Room 229, 415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Senate Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection (CPC) and Ways and Means (WAM):

CPC Chair, Senator Rosalyn Baker, (808) 586-6070, senbaker@Capitol.hawaii.gov
CPC Vice-Chair, Senator Brickwood Galuteria, (808) 586-6740, sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
WAM Vice Chair, Michelle N. Kidani, 808-586-7100, senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov
WAM Chair, Senator David Y. Ige, 808-586-6230, sendige@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Clarence Nishihara, (808) 586-6970, sennishihara@Capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Samuel Slom, (808) 586-8420, senslom@Capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Malama Solomon, (808) 586-7335, sensolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Brian Taniguchi, (808) 586-6460, sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Glenn Wakai, 808-586-8585, senwakai@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, 808-586-6090, sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator J. Kalani English, 808-587-7225, senenglish@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Will Espero, 808-586-6360, senespero@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Gilbert Kahele, 808-586-6760, senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Gilbert S.C.Keith-Agaran, 808-586-7344, senkeithagaran@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Ronald D. Kouchi, 808-586-6030, senkouchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, 808-586-6130, senchunoakland@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Russell E. Ruderman, 808-586-6890, senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Laura H. Thielen, 808-587-8388, senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Jill N. Tokuda,  808-587-7215, sentokuda@capitol.hawaii.gov

For questions or more information, contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org or (919) 816-3720.